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New Report: Building a Better Future for LA’s Youth

fullsizerender-5New Report: Building a Better Future for LA’s Youth: Re-imagining Public Safety for the City of Los Angeles with an Investment in Youth Development


Download Full Report (Updated 9/13/16)

Download Executive Summary (Updated 9/13/16)

This report addresses youth criminalization in Los Angeles and outlines what youth development is and why it is a critical component of public safety. The report highlights how other major American cities with youth development departments have made large scale investments in youth development. Finally, the report includes youth and community-driven recommendations for youth investment in the City of Los Angeles, while also outlining changes that should occur at the County level.

LA for Youth Press Conference


September 13, 2016
Contact: Emilio Lacques


Los Angeles City Hall Steps
200 N. Spring Street Spring (between 1st and Temple)
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
10:00am – 11:00am

(Los Angeles, CA) On Tuesday, September 13, a diverse coalition of civic leaders called on the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor to re-imagine public safety for our young people by investing in and creating a Youth Development Department. By re-directing just 5% of L.A.P.D’s annual budget, this department could fund at least 30 youth centers, 350 peace builders (intervention workers) in schools and communities, and an additional 15,000 (city-funded) youth jobs.

Gloria Gonzalez, a 21 year-old youth organizer and L.A. City College student said, “I do this for my family. I am working to make sure we get these resources so that my younger brother and my baby daughter can have real opportunities and grow up in a city that treats him with respect. L.A. spends 70 times more on law enforcement than youth development – this needs to change now.”

In 2012, the Youth Justice Coalition in collaboration with various community organizations launched the ‘LA for Youth’ campaign to re-imagine public safety. They surveyed over 1,200 youth across L.A. asking them about what public safety means to them-and the overwhelming majority wanted jobs, centers, and community intervention.

Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, Alex Johnson, said, “The City of Los Angeles budgets far more to its police department to contain and surveil its neighborhoods than to educate and develop its youth. That must end. The LA for Youth Campaign envisions a Los Angeles that invests in young people, and responds with tangible resources that develop, heal and transform communities.”

Since 2012, LA For Youth has developed an extensive report, which addresses youth criminalization in Los Angeles and outlines what youth development is and why it is a critical component of public safety.

Daniel Healy, Associate Director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles stated, “Our current LA City budget heavily prioritizes a suppression-oriented public safety strategy. LAPD currently costs the City of Los Angeles $2.57 billion annually – more than all other City departments combined – and the LAPD budget has increased 40% over the last 10 years. Redirecting a small percentage of those funds to create a youth development department that funds prevention-oriented public safety strategies such as youth jobs, youth centers and community peace builders will not only improve public safety but also the lives of many youth and their families throughout Los Angeles.”

The report highlights how other major American cities have invested in youth development and the strategies they utilize: San Francisco invests 19 times more in development per youth than Los Angeles annually, New York City invests seven times more, and Boston four times more.

Finally, the report includes youth and community-driven recommendations for youth investment in Los Angeles, while also outlining changes that should occur at the County level. A digital copy of the report, Building a Positive Future for LA’s Youth, will be available on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 along with more information and resources at


An L.A. That Loves Its Youth Community Event

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The California Endowment, Redwood Room
1000 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


On behalf of the L.A. For Youth Campaign, we wanted to cordially invite you to “An L.A. That Loves Its Youth” Community Event on Wednesday, August 24 at The California Endowment Redwood Room from 2:00pm-4:00pm. The L.A. For Youth Campaign is working to create a Youth Development Department within the city of Los Angeles, to be enacted by L.A. City Council as soon as possible.

As a means of creating positive alternatives for the youth of L.A. and mitigating the bloated investment in youth incarceration and criminalization in our city, this department will focus on youth job development, opening new youth centers across the city, and creating employment opportunities for community intervention workers, also known as “peacebuilders.”

“An L.A. That Loves Its Youth” will be an engaging experience for both new-comers and supporters of the campaign to learn about our history, hear from youth speakers and live performers, and have group discussions about how we can collectively improve public safety across Los Angeles.

What does “An L.A. That Loves Its Youth” look like to you? How can we build upon this value together to make this a reality for our young people?

Light refreshments will be available. We hope to see you there!



Twitter/Instagram: @LA4Youth #LAForYouth

Upcoming First Friday’s Campaign Meetings

We invite you and your organization to participate in L.A. for Youth’s First Friday’s monthly meeting held every first Friday of the month. 

Upcoming Meeting:

March 3, 2017

4:00pm – 6:00pm

Chuco’s Justice Center
1137 E. Redondo Blvd
Inglewood, CA 90302

Campaign Contact:

Tel: (323) 235-4243



2016 March for Respect & Library Takeover

flyerIGMarch for Respect & Library Takeover

Monday, March 14, 2016
9am Meet to march from various locations
(view map)

2pm-8pm Food, Workshops, Music, Art at Abandoned Public Library
6527 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043

For More Information and Updates:


On Monday, March 14, youth and their allies from across LA will march a total of 50 miles from 10 different directions and take over an abandoned library to demand that LA invest in youth development.  The LA City Library’s Hyde Park branch on Crenshaw and 66th has been abandoned since 2004.


Four years ago, in December of 2011, youth leaders with the Youth Justice Coalition tried to convert this library into a temporary community center to demonstrate the need for more positive activities for youth.  As youth were sweeping up trash and setting up food and information tables, the LAPD reacted with full force.

According to media who covered the event: “LAPD officers arrived within an hour–apparently alarmed that young people of color were trying to enter a library–and immediately shut the outside gates, trapping about half of the youth and supporters, including media and legal observers, on the property. Approximately 40 police closed nearby streets within 4 blocks of the library, and had arrest vans and a helicopter on the scene. The youth participating in the action were threatened with arrest for trespassing and $5000 bail.  They were eventually able to leave the site without arrest when they accepted a commitment from the County Supervisors and the LAPD to meet regarding the need for abandoned public properties to be turned over for community use. Following the eviction, the city–which can never seem to find resources to provide for the basic needs of the community–constructed an 8-foot tall fence around the library and parking lot.”
2016 Final Side 1 LA for Youth Library Takeover

Youth kick off campaign aimed at bringing city resources to Boyle Heights

By Cinthia Gonzales, Boyle Heights Beat,

Close to 200 Boyle Heights youth gathered at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School last week to discuss how to create effective development programs that meet the needs of young people today.

The event kicked off the Boyle Heights for Youth Campaign, an initiative of Building Healthy Communities- Boyle Heights, which aims to get youth leaders involved in key decisions that affect them and their neighborhoods.

Robert Cristo, a young leader and organizer with Youth Justice Coalition, says events like this are needed to address issues that affect youth. “We need to empower youth. Youth require to be taken seriously….For that to happen, the youth need someone to listen to them,” said Cristo.

Parents and students participated in the event organized by a number of local groups, including Inner City Struggle, Legacy L.A., Youth Justice Coalition, Las Fotos Project, College Track and Self-Help Graphics and Art.

Various youth and parent workgroups addressed what youth development meant to them and shared feedback on how they wish resources be diverted into the community. Some hoped to see more arts and crafts, others asked for holistic healing; parents sought parental development classes. Youth also had the opportunity to participate in art workshops, including photography, painting, dance and theater.

The Boyle Heights For Youth Campaign’s goals largely focus on increasing city funding for youth development programs and giving residents the power to weigh in on development decisions made by the City of Los Angeles.

“We recognize that the campaign has to be lead by youth,” said Lou Calanche, executive director of Legacy L.A. “We can’t do it for them and that was the purpose of today; to launch the campaign, to let all these amazing youth that are doing work in their community know that we are here.”

Martha Gonzalez, mother of three and parent organizer with Legacy L.A., was happy to see the large youth turnout. “This is my first time attending this type of event. I usually attend parent group events and I’m surprised to see how many youth showed up,” she said.

The Boyle Heights for Youth Campaign plans to host future events for more youth and parents to get involved. For more information, email

LA2050 Challenge Grant Contest

Support the youth of Los Angeles!
Vote for the L.A. for Youth Campaign!

Imagine a Los Angeles where every youth has the opportunities and support to reach their full potential…

The L.A. for Youth Campaign seeks to build a better future for the youth of Los Angeles by advocating for:

  • Investment in the youth development infrastructure of Los Angeles, including the creation of a Youth Development Department for the County of Los Angeles and a coordinated network of youth centers with wrap around services

  • Redirection of resources from suppression strategies to prevention and intervention strategies

  • Youth employment opportunities that provide the skills needed for the future workforce.

Vote for the L.A. for Youth Campaign

Voting begins on September 2nd and ends on September 16th

The top voted project in each of the five LA2050 Goal Categories will receive $100,000 to implement their idea (five winners total).


  • Voting begins on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 (noon Pacific Daylight Time) and closes Tuesday, September 16th, (noon Pacific Daylight Time).
  • Each person can vote once in each category (L.A. for Youth is in the “PLAY” category).
  • In order to vote, you must be at least 18 years old and a US resident.
  • In order to vote, you will need to log in with a GOOD account. If you don’t have a GOOD account, it’s free to join. All you need is an email address or a Facebook account to register. You will be emailed a link that you need to click in order to validate your address.

YJC’s Voters’ Guide for LA County Sheriff

Young people of color – ages 13 – 24 – are the population most targeted for stop and frisk and ticketing on both the streets and public transportation; the population most likely to be killed by deputies’ gunfire; the population with the highest rates of arrest, detention and incarceration; the population most targeted by law enforcement for gang injunctions and gang labeling (on the CalGang Database); as well as the population suffering the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment. No population has more to gain or lose in the election of LA County’s new Sheriff.

The Youth Justice Coalition co-sponsored two Sheriffs’ Debates during which we were able to get answers to questions that youth and their families identified as most important to the safety and well-being of young people.

Click here to download the YJC’s Voter’s Guide. The voter’s guide contains the candidates’ responses.

Polls are open Tuesday June 3rd, from 7am – 8pm.

To find your voting location and a sample ballot, go to:


L.A. for Youth Concert Promo Video

LA for Youth is hosting a concert and rally to uplift youth voice, visions and solutions for our communities, to display youth talent and creativity, and to provide a powerful example of what real public safety and youth development looks like. All Los Angeles youth who want to perform – (bands, dj’s, dancers, singers, and spoken word artists) or exhibit live art (paintings, drawings, graph art, and murals) – we want to see you there!
To apply to be an artist or performer at the concert, click here: