Close Youth Prisons

Build Youth Leaders

Close Youth Prisons

Build Youth Leaders

It takes CURYJ

Since 2011, CURYJ has been building community and mobilizing young leaders in the movement to end youth criminalization and mass incarceration. As individuals who have lived through systemic violence and incarceration, we engage youth most impacted by the injustice, immigration, and foster care systems so that they can be the ones to close youth prisons and heal our communities.

We teach ethnic studies, facilitate restorative justice circles, and share culturally rooted healing practices. We provide life coaching, professional development, political education, and hands-on experience working on policy and grassroots campaigns. Our community garden, murals, cultural celebrations, and rapid response violence prevention weave a zone of empowerment and belonging through the heart of Fruitvale.

DBB at the State Capitol
Rubens Graduation
DBB at the State Capitol
Rubens Graduation

Our Values

La Cultura Cura

Our healing is in our roots. Cultural practices and ethnic studies build a young person’s understanding of their authentic self, their community, and their power to transform society.

For Us, By Us

Those closest to the pain are closest to the solutions. We uplift the voices and experiences of those most impacted by the systems we aim to dismantle.

Every Young Person is a Blessing

Every young person is a gift with something to offer the world. When we criminalize our young people, we deny not only them, but all those who would benefit from that gift.

Our Story

CURYJ was born when our co-founders set out to defeat the Fruitvale gang injunction, a pre-emptive “restraining order” that gave cops the right to harass young people of color and strip them of their civil liberties. In the years since defeating the injunction, CURYJ has worked nonstop in coalitions and partnerships to fight against policies that criminalize youth and to craft policy that invests in our communities.

As individuals who lived through the impacts of systemic violence and incarceration, we engage youth most impacted by street violence to make a difference in their lives. Over the past 10 years, we’ve expanded our reach to the wider Bay Area and have helped our youth organize to pass city- and state-wide legislation that is realizing an end to mass incarceration and youth criminalization.


CURYJ reclaims unused land from the city of Oakland to create the Fruitvale Community Garden


The fotonovela “Forgotten Voices: A Youth Vision for Oakland” written by our young people to highlight their community needs is published


CURYJ is registered as a 501c3 nonprofit


CURYJ leads the first community organizing effort to successfully defeat a gang injunction


CURYJ co-authors and passes Prop 57, eliminating the district attorney’s ability to directly file and charge youth as young as 14 as adults

As a plaintiff in class action lawsuit AB109, CURYJ helps to transfer 60,000 people from state prison to county jail, restoring their voting rights


Funding for CURYJ’s work surpasses $1,000,000


CURYJ launches the Dream Beyond Bars fellowship for formerly incarcerated young people


CURYJ co-sponsors and passes SB1421, granting public access to the records of abusive officers


CURYJ co-sponsors and passes AB392, elevating the standard for police use of force from “reasonable” to “necessary”


CURYJ organizes to pass Prop 17, restoring voting rights to 50,000 Californians on parole

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CURYJ delivers meals and groceries to vulnerable community members and becomes an unofficial PPE distribution center, handing out over 10,000 masks and other items of protective gear

Who We Are

Nothing about us without us

Staff Members Who Are Formerly Incarcerated

Including our Executive and Managing Directors

Board Members Who Are Formerly Incarcerated
Staff Members Who Are Systems-Impacted

Impacted by the foster care, immigration, and criminal injustice systems

Staff Members Who Are Former Program Participants
Staff Members Who Are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color

Defund. Abolish. Decolonize.

Dream beyond bars

Help us to create a world where no child is incarcerated. Take action to touch lives, impact policy, and transform your community.

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