In the News

📷 Media Contact

For press inquires please email: mbare@curyj.org

📰 Press Coverage

  • Local News Matters | September 6, 2023 | Read article 

    In the last year, the public furor surrounding the murder of George Floyd and other police killings has subsided, and in recent years, calls to defund the police have diminished. In contrast, support for police has grown, or at least become more vocal. 

    As a result of the pandemic, some organizations, including traditionally progressive civil rights groups, are noticing an increase in certain types of crime. In any event, advocates of police reform and police abolition both agree that we must change how our society views law enforcement and how we hold it accountable.

    Police use of unwarranted force is cited as one of the main reasons for their calls for reform or abolition.  Our Organizer Associate, Amanda Majail-Blanco, and sister of Erik Salgado, who California Highway Patrol officers killed during a traffic stop in Oakland in June of 2020, says  “Just because the police shot them doesn’t mean that it’s justified.”

    Since the killing of her brother, she has been on the front lines of several community-led organizing efforts, including the Justice in July Block party held in Oakland that called for all officers responsible for killings in Alameda County to be charged with murder.

    Advocates for abolishing police forces as they currently exist argue for law enforcement to be created and controlled by local communities. 

  • The Davis Vanguard | September 2, 2023 | Read article 

    According to the Alameda County DA Accountability Table (ACDAAT), a coalition of community groups, the District Attorney has prioritized youth rehabilitation by pledging to keep as many juveniles as possible within the juvenile justice system rather than transferring them to adult court. But studies have shown that juveniles in juvenile facilities are more likely to receive “age-appropriate rehabilitation opportunities” that foster their ability to contribute to society, such as biannual progress checks, educational opportunities, certification programs, and restorative justice programs.

    Our Policy & Legal Services Manager, J Vasquez, said, “All youth are sacred, and young people should be seen for more than their worst mistakes. We should instead invest finite county resources into community-driven solutions that hold youth accountable without causing them, their families, and our communities long-term harm. Our government structures and investments must provide wraparound services for everyone affected by harm.”

  • Witness L.A. | August 31, 2023 | Read article

    In an article written by Taylor Walker from Witness L.A. titled “CA Bill Would Shift Restitution From Juveniles To State”, our Youth Justice Coordinator, Xochtil Larios, was quoted saying, “I can’t worry about who I am becoming because I still have to fix my past.” After years in foster care and juvenile justice, our Youth Justice Coordinator, Xochtil Larios, entered adulthood with $3,500 in restitution debt. Despite her determination to move forward, the restitution debt she owed from a teen crime felt overwhelming.

    The article discusses Assembly Bill 1186, which proposes ending youth being charged restitution fines. Restitution fines are amounts owed to victims by those who commit crimes and are found guilty. #AB1186 suggests that the California Victim Compensation Board, rather than charging youth, pay restitution directly and immediately to crime victims. The bill is on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee and is expected to be heard in September.

  • EdSource | August 23, 2023 | Read article 

    In an article by EdSource titled “New bill would shift restitution from juveniles to State.” our Youth Justice Coordinator, Xochtil Larios, was quoted extensively. The article discusses Assembly Bill 1186, which proposes ending youth restitution fines, which are amounts owed by those found guilty of crimes and paid to victims. In contrast to charging youths, AB 1186 proposes paying the restitution directly to crime victims. By September, the Senate Appropriations Committee will address the bill on the suspense file.

    If the bill passes this fall, it would only end the restitution that youths have paid. Future legislative cycles will determine how to fund the bill, which is estimated to cost about $12 million annually in restitution amounts plus additional staffing costs.

    “Juveniles are set off to be pioneers, leaders, start joining the workforce, education, but the justice system doesn’t think about the weight, the heavy stuff that we’re carrying,”

    As a result of CURYJ’s help, Xochtil has managed to stay on track after her release. In Alameda County, she learned about CURYJ while being detained and applied for a job once she was released. She’s now worked in CURYJ for five years, supporting research development and leading training on youth rights, among other things.

  • YouthToday.org | August 18, 2023 | Read article 

    our Youth Justice Coordinator, Xochtil Larios, was featured in Youth Today news. During an interview with journalist Brian Rinker, she discussed how her experiences in the juvenile justice system and working with CURYJ shaped her advocacy for reforms.

    “At some point in jail, I met advocates with the Oakland-based Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, CURYJ. They encouraged me to get involved in youth leadership and activism. In addition to helping me with transportation and housing, they told me they would assist me when I got out.”

  • YouthToday.org | August 17, 2023 | Read article 

    In yesterday’s article titled “Are California counties ready to handle juvenile offenders now that state youth prisons are shuttered?” from Youth Today our Executive Director, George Galvis, was quoted saying, “The state opened up Pandora’s box, and now we’re trying to manage this disaster”

    In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a shutdown of the state’s youth prison system, which would trim juvenile justice budgets. He and state analysts assume that the move might improve a young person’s chances of being redirected onto a more beneficial life path by giving them more access to their families.

    Many agree that Newsom’s intentions are good. But, they argue, the transfer of those youth from state to county custody has not been well-timed or well-planned. 

  • KTVU FOX 2 | July 18, 2023 | Read article  

    A total of 45 unarmed people across California were shot by law enforcement officers in the last two years, and California’s Attorney General is charged with investigating whether those killings were justified. 

    But the pace of AG Rob Bonta’s inquiries has upset victims’ families, criminal justice activists and those in uniform alike.

    AB 1506 went into effect in 2021, a bill that’s changed the dynamics of how police-involved shooting investigations are handled by eliminating the influence of local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys in 58 counties. At the time, progressives and police unions both opposed it. And they still do.

    CURYJ’s main opposition is that the AG’s office is still too close to police to fairly determine whether an officer-involved shooting is justified.

    “It’s not going to be a perfect system by any means, but we believe it will be a more meaningful and more productive system to hold officers accountable.” – J Vaquez 

  • Open Vallejo | July 11, 2023 | Read article

    In a statement to Open Vallejo Friday, California Senate Bill 1421’s author said withholding police records violated the bill’s intent. 

    “California’s police transparency laws, SB 1421 and SB 16, guarantee public access to records related to a range of law enforcement misconduct, including cases involving death, excessive use of force, and sexual assault,” wrote Skinner, who authored both laws. “Those laws do not contain any exemption for records when a victim or witness is a minor.”

    Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, which helped write SB 1421, co-founded by George Galvis, told Open Vallejo last month that legislators would need to clarify the law by passing a trailer bill clarifying the need to disclose records of police violence against juveniles. 

  • Open Vallejo | June 28, 2023 | Read article 

    Due to state and federal laws, government agencies have long been prohibited from publicly disclosing information about juveniles’ interactions with the legal system. In addition to reducing barriers to employment, housing, and higher education, these laws aim to protect justice-impacted youth from social stigma. However, the police have exploited these laws to evade transparency when they use force against children.

    “It’s very clear to me that this is an abuse. It’s really concerning that they’re abusing the spirit and intent of SB 1421 in this way…I can tell you that, as one of the sponsors: that was not the intent. We would never have ever allowed that.” – George Galvis

  • AP New | June 17, 2023 | View article 

    To cover an estimated $31.5 billion budget deficit, the Newsom administration has proposed ending public disclosure of investigations into abusive and corrupt police officers.

    An organization that spent years advocating for the disclosure rules that were part of the landmark law Newsom signed in 2021, a coalition of criminal justice and press freedom groups, have strongly criticized the proposal, part of the governor’s budget package he is still negotiating with the Legislature.

    “It’s a slap in the face to the family members who have had their loved ones stolen from them that … a key provision of the decertification process is not being honored,” J Vasquez, of social justice group Communities United For Restorative Justice, said at a news conference last week.

     

  • By Out Of The Margins. Shared by Andrus Family Fund  | June 16, 2023 | View article

    Organizing for Abolition. Envisioning Liberation. Hosted by AFF Director Mishi Faruqee, each episode in this limited series will feature grantee partners, youth leaders and/or allies who share their visions for community-centered approaches that support youth and families.   
     
    In this first episode, we hear from Brenda Gomez and Xochtil Larios of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) in Oakland, CA. They discuss their journey from being incarcerated as teenagers and being empowered by CURYJ to their continued evolution as youth leaders in the abolition movement and how CURYJ continues to support young people to #DreamBeyondBars. 

    Learn more about CURYJ:
    curyj.org
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Instagram

    Music by Bre Stoves, “Untold Story” from Care, Not Control (The Album)

    Learn more about AFF:
    affund.org
    LinkedIn
    Instagram
    Facebook

    This podcast is produced by Sol Design.

  • KQED | June, 16 2023 | View article 

    It will take creative thinking to solve this problem in Oakland, according to community groups and the city’s Department of Violence Prevention (DVP). From Friday and through July, DVP will bring back Town Nights, an arts and culture series aimed at providing resources and positive social outlets. So why do some of the city’s leading gun violence prevention groups say this programming effectively stops gun violence? A KQED associate editor of arts and culture, Nastia Voynovskaya, addresses this question in a Bay episode. 

    Listen here

  • The Oakland Side | June 15, 2023 | View article 


    Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention is getting some bridge money to carry it through the summer, but the department’s community-based contractors, who do much of its work on the streets, fear the added funds won’t save them from the chopping block when the council finalizes the city’s next two-year budget before the end of June.

    “That’s just throwing a Band-Aid on a broken bone,” said Alex Toris, a cultural activist for Communities United For Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), which is one of the recipients of department grants. 

    “What we’re asking for is not for City Council to put the money where their mouth is, but to keep it there,” Joseph Griffin, executive director of Youth ALIVE! Said during a press conference on May 30. “That’s really what we need to keep our programs going.”  

  • ABC 7 News | June 14, 2023 | View Story 

    At a rally in front of Oakland City Hall, community groups demanded no cuts to city funding for many of their programs — ahead of Wednesday’s city council budget meeting.




  • SF Chronicle | June 9, 2023 | View article 

    One of the biggest differences between Oakland teens and those nationally was witnessing violence: Nearly one in three Oakland teens reported having seen someone assaulted, stabbed, or shot, compared with one in five nationally.

    36% of Oakland high school students said they witnessed someone in their neighborhood get shot, stabbed or beaten, outpacing their peers in California and around the country. In the United States, 20% of students agreed.

    “A majority of the kids I deal with have been victims of violence, have perpetrated violence, have seen people get hurt or shot,” said Francisco Cisneros, a violence interrupter from Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice at Fremont High School in East Oakland. “They’re living in an environment that resorts to violence. It makes them feel like violence is almost the first thing they should resort to solve their problems.”

  • SF Gate | June 6, 2023 | View article 

    Three years have passed since Erik Salgado was shot, killed, and lost his baby at the hands of California Highway Patrol officers in Oakland on June 6, 2023.

    The family of Erik Salgado, CURYJ, the Anti Police-Terror, and Addie Kitchen, a grandmother of Steven Taylor, who was killed by law enforcement, gathered outside Rene C. Davidson’s Oakland courthouse yesterday morning to make their case.

    As a result of the shooting and death of Erik Salgado and the loss of his baby, a new district attorney has been elected, Pamela Price, who has vowed to file charges against killer cops and reopen the case closed by her predecessor Nancy O’Malley to charge the officer involved in Erik Salgado’s murder. The family awaits justice and accountability despite ample evidence against Sgt. Richard Henderson.

    “It really makes me upset that these police officers have this immunity and these bills of rights that protect them,” said Amanda Majail-Blanco, Salgado’s sister.

  • SF Chronicle | June 4, 2023 | View article 

    Over the next two years, Mayor Thao proposes reducing funding for the Department of Violence Prevention from $48 million to $41 million. Clearly, Thao’s campaign promise to double violence prevention funding would be reversed by these cuts.

    Swai Lakai says she’s benefited from violence prevention services. After serving time in prison, the 21-year-old now works for CURYJ, which organizes Town Nights for the city, an event that brings young people off the streets into spaces where they can interact with mentors and life coaches in order to prevent them from engaging in criminal activity.

    Swai says, “Young people need the services, they need the mentors, they need the things these organizations offer to keep them out of trouble”

  • Fox KTVU 2 | May 30, 2023 | View article 

    Dozens of community leaders rallied outside Oakland City Hall on Tuesday, urging city officials not to slash the city’s Department of Violence Prevention budget.

    proposed budget released by Mayor Sheng Thao calls for a reduction in contracts between the violence-prevention department and community-based groups that reach out to those at risk.

    Ricardo Garcia of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice said, “What we’re demanding the city is to equally invest in our frontline people, our folks who are putting their lives literally on the ground, to be able to make sure they’re supporting families.”

    Swai Lakai told the crowd, “The police do not keep us safe, we keep us safe.” Lakai told KTVU she’s a beneficiary of community-based programs.

    “I’m a formerly incarcerated student, and it helped me because I used to be in a lot of trouble, and me being able to go to these programs have helped me,” Lakai said.

  • SF Chronicle | May 28, 2023 | View article 

    George Floyd’s murder sparked calls to end police brutality and racism. California has experienced a decline in overall police killings three years later, while the U.S. has increased.

    Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice executive director George Galvis says these problems stem from racism in policing in America.

    “When you think about the problems with policing in this country, you think of the system’s roots, which go back to slavery and slave patrols, police violence, police terrorism, has always been a part of policing and that won’t change overnight.”

  • ABC 7 News | May 24, 2023 | View Story 

    “Instead of reigning in police spending, the city is considering defunding vital services for violence prevention, jobs, shelter for the unhoused.”

  • Ms. Magazine | May 15, 2023 | View article

    Imagine how happy you would feel after being told you can finally go home to your family and friends after spending your 18th birthday and over 200 days in juvenile hall. This was the case for Xochtil, who was eager to start a new life and never return. She was ecstatic—that is, until she was given a $3,000 bill upon her release.

    She was relieved to be back with her community, but was working tirelessly to make ends meet while simultaneously juggling a full-time course load at a community college. The carceral debt loomed over, leaving her too stressed on money to focus on the far more important issues of her re-integration, two jobs or education.

  • Alamedasun | April 24, 2023 | View article

    “I don’t think the city has done a lot,” Majail-Blanco said. “They barely do anything and community members sometimes trash the site. If anything, the city has procrastinated in trying to hold cops accountable and no justice has been served.”

  • Oaklandside | April 18, 2023 | View article

    Youth members of CURYJ said they don’t want policing to be the solution to the neighborhood’s systemic problems. “We want this police money to go back into the community,” one young person said. “Why are you talking about public safety when police murder our brothers and sisters?”

  • SF Chronicle | April 18, 2023 | View article

    “If you have the power and funds to open a substation, you should use that power to keep working with organizations like (Communities) United for Restorative Youth Justice that are run by people in the community,” a speaker said, “since those who are closer to the problem are also closer to the solution.”

  • Hard Knock Radio | April 27, 2023 | View article

    Geroge Galvis, Executive Director shared, “Belafonte’s significant impact on his activism and the work he and others were doing to end mass incarceration, provide support for those returning home, and offer resources for marginalized individuals. His conversations and work with Mr B encouraged him to double his efforts. The jewels of wisdom he received from Harry Belafonte made him a better organizer”.

  • 94.1 KPFA | April 19, 2023 | View article

    Dr. Frankie Ramos, Director of Campaigns and Organizing, was featured in a live radio interview in a discussion about closing youth prisons  to talk about CURYJ’s latest efforts with the grassroots Dreams Beyond Bars campaign and the legislative effort of the PROMYSE Act. 

  • Andrus Family Fund | March 30, 2023 | View Story 

    AFF is launching a new video and podcast series that centers youth in the movement to abolish harmful systems and who are envisioning community-centered approaches to supporting youth and families. Watch now to get a sneak peek of the topics we’ll address.

    Youth organizers featured in this video include:
    Meyiya Coleman, Communities United
    Xochtil Larios, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)
    Anahi Figueroa-Martinez, Juvenile Law Center
    Laura Rosado, Visionary Freedom Fund
    Jemima Abalogu, Visionary Freedom Fund
    Bre Stoves, Care Not Control (Original song – Untold Story)

  • The Sacramento Bee | February 24, 2023 | View article

    George Galvis, founder and executive director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, said Armstrong’s firing was a first step “in holding OPD accountable for years of abuse and scandals.”

  • Post News Group | February 16, 2023 | View article

    “I think it’s important to think that there are many Tyre Nichols’ and while in this particular moment there is righteous outrage, as there should be for the blatant and egregious murder of a young Black man for a fraudulent traffic stop, we have many, many cases here in the Bay Area that we perhaps have more agency over as Oaklanders.” George Galvis, CURYJ Executive Director and Co-Founder. 

  • Oakland North | February 6, 2023 | View article

    Ray’Von Jones, a former Oakland Tech teacher who now is a program manager at Communities United for Restorative Justice or CURYJ, heard of Zamudio’s plan to organize a vigil and block party for Nichols, she gave her full support.

    “It’s not easy as a student to organize something like this, so we’re really just here in solidarity, supporting with whatever they need,” Jones said. “But they’re running the show.”

    Jones said the students meant for the action to be disruptive, noting, “The point of an act of civil disobedience is to disobey a rule which is like being in school.”

  • SF Chronicle | January 26, 2023 | View article

  • “We understand that she has to maintain a delicate balance as DA, but her life experience could set her up to do some amazing things, especially if she gets the support,“ said Rocky Hunt, our Participatory Defense Coordinator in The Imprint | January 10, 2023 | View article

  • “During the first 100 days of DA Price’s tenure, our coalition of advocates will hold her administration accountable to commitments made during the campaign, including community calls for decarceration, decriminalization, and accountability. Only then will voters and systems-impacted folks know that DA Price is the change we’ve been waiting for.” in the article by Ella Baker Center | January 3, 2023 | View article

DO NOT DELETE –  THESE POST BELOW ARE FROM PREVIOUS YEARS

  •  “We send our children to schools so that they are cared for and protected and they receive an education and not bullets,” says Mario Juarez in Telemundo | September 30, 2022 | View article

  •  “The safest communities do not have the most police. They have the most resources,” says Galvis of CURYJ in KQED | September 12, 2022 | View article

  • Article written by Shwanika Narayan. San Francisco Chronicle | July 8, 2022 | View article

  • Article written by Eduardo Gonzales. San Francisco Foundation | April 26, 2022 | View article

  • Op-ed written by Katarina Sayally, CURYJ DBB fellow. The Imprint | June 21, 2021 | View article

  • “Mario’s life was ended, he was murdered by the police. It was unnecessary, it was result of white supremacy it’s a result of the culture of policing and once again we don’t need police protection, we need protection from the police,” Galvis said.

    ABC 10| April 28, 2021 | View article

  • “How do you take a healthy person in custody who has no health problems and then they mysteriously die? There’s not an uncanny correlation. It’s obvious he was murdered by Alameda police,” George Galvis said.

    KQED| April 22, 2021 | View article

  • Black, Latino, Asian Americans are raising money and helping to escort senior citizens who might not feel safe.

    NBC News | February 19, 2021 | View article

  • Evelyn Canal, Dream Beyond Bars fellow and advocate for incarcerated youth, recounts what it was like wearing a monitor and now fights for young people’s rights while in the system.



    NBC News | July 25, 2021 | View article

  • Protesters call for early release for some inmates; vaccine distribution clouds debate

    East Bay Times | January 31, 2021 | View article

  • Panel discussion moderated by Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, with Xochtil Larios of CURYJ, Pastor Mike McBride of Live Free, and Zach Norris of the Ella Baker Center.

    Alameda County Library | January 27,2021 | View panel discussion

  • “Growing up in elementary school and middle school, as we were taught about Dr. King, we were taught this co-opted, sanitized, whitewashed version of Dr. King that was really meant about social control, it was about behaving well, it was about assimilation,” Galvis said.

    San Francisco Public Press | January 18, 2021 | View article

  • Interview with former Dream Beyond Bars Coordinator, Daniel Mendoza

    Bioneers | View article

  • Oakland activists and advocates compare today’s treatment of pro-Trump insurrectionists with what they’ve witnessed at local protests.

    The Oaklandside | January 6, 2021 | View article

  • Editorial by Hayden Renato

    Evident Change | December 9, 2020 | View editorial

  • Editorial by Tom Steyer and George Galvis

    Sacramento Bee | September 12, 2020 | View editorial

  • In a three year span, Latinos in California represented 46% of deadly police shootings – second to the rates for African Americans

    The Guardian | June 12, 2020 | View article

📃  Blog

Read blogs written by CURYJ staff and young leaders. Swipe to see more entries or visit our Medium page.

🎬 Videos

I MADE THIS AS AN EXTRA SECTION _ YOU CAN DELETE

  • Open Vallejo | June 28, 2023 | Read article 

    Due to state and federal laws, government agencies have long been prohibited from publicly disclosing information about juveniles’ interactions with the legal system. In addition to reducing barriers to employment, housing, and higher education, these laws aim to protect justice-impacted youth from social stigma. However, the police have exploited these laws to evade transparency when they use force against children.

    “It’s very clear to me that this is an abuse. It’s really concerning that they’re abusing the spirit and intent of SB 1421 in this way…I can tell you that, as one of the sponsors: that was not the intent. We would never have ever allowed that.” – George Galvis

  • AP New | June 17, 2023 | View article 

    To cover an estimated $31.5 billion budget deficit, the Newsom administration has proposed ending public disclosure of investigations into abusive and corrupt police officers.

    An organization that spent years advocating for the disclosure rules that were part of the landmark law Newsom signed in 2021, a coalition of criminal justice and press freedom groups, have strongly criticized the proposal, part of the governor’s budget package he is still negotiating with the Legislature.

    “It’s a slap in the face to the family members who have had their loved ones stolen from them that … a key provision of the decertification process is not being honored,” J Vasquez, of social justice group Communities United For Restorative Justice, said at a news conference last week.

     

  • By Out Of The Margins. Shared by Andrus Family Fund  | June 16, 2023 | View article

    Organizing for Abolition. Envisioning Liberation. Hosted by AFF Director Mishi Faruqee, each episode in this limited series will feature grantee partners, youth leaders and/or allies who share their visions for community-centered approaches that support youth and families.   
     
    In this first episode, we hear from Brenda Gomez and Xochtil Larios of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) in Oakland, CA. They discuss their journey from being incarcerated as teenagers and being empowered by CURYJ to their continued evolution as youth leaders in the abolition movement and how CURYJ continues to support young people to #DreamBeyondBars. 

    Learn more about CURYJ:
    curyj.org
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Instagram

    Music by Bre Stoves, “Untold Story” from Care, Not Control (The Album)

    Learn more about AFF:
    affund.org
    LinkedIn
    Instagram
    Facebook

    This podcast is produced by Sol Design.

  • KQED | June, 16 2023 | View article 

    It will take creative thinking to solve this problem in Oakland, according to community groups and the city’s Department of Violence Prevention (DVP). From Friday and through July, DVP will bring back Town Nights, an arts and culture series aimed at providing resources and positive social outlets. So why do some of the city’s leading gun violence prevention groups say this programming effectively stops gun violence? A KQED associate editor of arts and culture, Nastia Voynovskaya, addresses this question in a Bay episode. 

    Listen here

  • The Oakland Side | June 15, 2023 | View article 


    Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention is getting some bridge money to carry it through the summer, but the department’s community-based contractors, who do much of its work on the streets, fear the added funds won’t save them from the chopping block when the council finalizes the city’s next two-year budget before the end of June.

    “That’s just throwing a Band-Aid on a broken bone,” said Alex Toris, a cultural activist for Communities United For Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), which is one of the recipients of department grants. 

    “What we’re asking for is not for City Council to put the money where their mouth is, but to keep it there,” Joseph Griffin, executive director of Youth ALIVE! Said during a press conference on May 30. “That’s really what we need to keep our programs going.”  

  • ABC 7 News | June 14, 2023 | View Story 

    At a rally in front of Oakland City Hall, community groups demanded no cuts to city funding for many of their programs — ahead of Wednesday’s city council budget meeting.




  • SF Chronicle | June 9, 2023 | View article 

    One of the biggest differences between Oakland teens and those nationally was witnessing violence: Nearly one in three Oakland teens reported having seen someone assaulted, stabbed, or shot, compared with one in five nationally.

    36% of Oakland high school students said they witnessed someone in their neighborhood get shot, stabbed or beaten, outpacing their peers in California and around the country. In the United States, 20% of students agreed.

    “A majority of the kids I deal with have been victims of violence, have perpetrated violence, have seen people get hurt or shot,” said Francisco Cisneros, a violence interrupter from Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice at Fremont High School in East Oakland. “They’re living in an environment that resorts to violence. It makes them feel like violence is almost the first thing they should resort to solve their problems.”

  • SF Gate | June 6, 2023 | View article 

    Three years have passed since Erik Salgado was shot, killed, and lost his baby at the hands of California Highway Patrol officers in Oakland on June 6, 2023.

    The family of Erik Salgado, CURYJ, the Anti Police-Terror, and Addie Kitchen, a grandmother of Steven Taylor, who was killed by law enforcement, gathered outside Rene C. Davidson’s Oakland courthouse yesterday morning to make their case.

    As a result of the shooting and death of Erik Salgado and the loss of his baby, a new district attorney has been elected, Pamela Price, who has vowed to file charges against killer cops and reopen the case closed by her predecessor Nancy O’Malley to charge the officer involved in Erik Salgado’s murder. The family awaits justice and accountability despite ample evidence against Sgt. Richard Henderson.

    “It really makes me upset that these police officers have this immunity and these bills of rights that protect them,” said Amanda Majail-Blanco, Salgado’s sister.

  • SF Chronicle | June 4, 2023 | View article 

    Over the next two years, Mayor Thao proposes reducing funding for the Department of Violence Prevention from $48 million to $41 million. Clearly, Thao’s campaign promise to double violence prevention funding would be reversed by these cuts.

    Swai Lakai says she’s benefited from violence prevention services. After serving time in prison, the 21-year-old now works for CURYJ, which organizes Town Nights for the city, an event that brings young people off the streets into spaces where they can interact with mentors and life coaches in order to prevent them from engaging in criminal activity.

    Swai says, “Young people need the services, they need the mentors, they need the things these organizations offer to keep them out of trouble”

  • Fox KTVU 2 | May 30, 2023 | View article 

    Dozens of community leaders rallied outside Oakland City Hall on Tuesday, urging city officials not to slash the city’s Department of Violence Prevention budget.

    proposed budget released by Mayor Sheng Thao calls for a reduction in contracts between the violence-prevention department and community-based groups that reach out to those at risk.

    Ricardo Garcia of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice said, “What we’re demanding the city is to equally invest in our frontline people, our folks who are putting their lives literally on the ground, to be able to make sure they’re supporting families.”

    Swai Lakai told the crowd, “The police do not keep us safe, we keep us safe.” Lakai told KTVU she’s a beneficiary of community-based programs.

    “I’m a formerly incarcerated student, and it helped me because I used to be in a lot of trouble, and me being able to go to these programs have helped me,” Lakai said.

  • SF Chronicle | May 28, 2023 | View article 

    George Floyd’s murder sparked calls to end police brutality and racism. California has experienced a decline in overall police killings three years later, while the U.S. has increased.

    Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice executive director George Galvis says these problems stem from racism in policing in America.

    “When you think about the problems with policing in this country, you think of the system’s roots, which go back to slavery and slave patrols, police violence, police terrorism, has always been a part of policing and that won’t change overnight.”

  • ABC 7 News | May 24, 2023 | View Story 

    “Instead of reigning in police spending, the city is considering defunding vital services for violence prevention, jobs, shelter for the unhoused.”

  • Ms. Magazine | May 15, 2023 | View article

    Imagine how happy you would feel after being told you can finally go home to your family and friends after spending your 18th birthday and over 200 days in juvenile hall. This was the case for Xochtil, who was eager to start a new life and never return. She was ecstatic—that is, until she was given a $3,000 bill upon her release.

    She was relieved to be back with her community, but was working tirelessly to make ends meet while simultaneously juggling a full-time course load at a community college. The carceral debt loomed over, leaving her too stressed on money to focus on the far more important issues of her re-integration, two jobs or education.

  • Alamedasun | April 24, 2023 | View article

    “I don’t think the city has done a lot,” Majail-Blanco said. “They barely do anything and community members sometimes trash the site. If anything, the city has procrastinated in trying to hold cops accountable and no justice has been served.”

  • Oaklandside | April 18, 2023 | View article

    Youth members of CURYJ said they don’t want policing to be the solution to the neighborhood’s systemic problems. “We want this police money to go back into the community,” one young person said. “Why are you talking about public safety when police murder our brothers and sisters?”

  • SF Chronicle | April 18, 2023 | View article

    “If you have the power and funds to open a substation, you should use that power to keep working with organizations like (Communities) United for Restorative Youth Justice that are run by people in the community,” a speaker said, “since those who are closer to the problem are also closer to the solution.”

  • Hard Knock Radio | April 27, 2023 | View article

    Geroge Galvis, Executive Director shared, “Belafonte’s significant impact on his activism and the work he and others were doing to end mass incarceration, provide support for those returning home, and offer resources for marginalized individuals. His conversations and work with Mr B encouraged him to double his efforts. The jewels of wisdom he received from Harry Belafonte made him a better organizer”.

  • 94.1 KPFA | April 19, 2023 | View article

    Dr. Frankie Ramos, Director of Campaigns and Organizing, was featured in a live radio interview in a discussion about closing youth prisons  to talk about CURYJ’s latest efforts with the grassroots Dreams Beyond Bars campaign and the legislative effort of the PROMYSE Act. 

  • Andrus Family Fund | March 30, 2023 | View Story 

    AFF is launching a new video and podcast series that centers youth in the movement to abolish harmful systems and who are envisioning community-centered approaches to supporting youth and families. Watch now to get a sneak peek of the topics we’ll address.

    Youth organizers featured in this video include:
    Meyiya Coleman, Communities United
    Xochtil Larios, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)
    Anahi Figueroa-Martinez, Juvenile Law Center
    Laura Rosado, Visionary Freedom Fund
    Jemima Abalogu, Visionary Freedom Fund
    Bre Stoves, Care Not Control (Original song – Untold Story)

  • The Sacramento Bee | February 24, 2023 | View article

    George Galvis, founder and executive director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, said Armstrong’s firing was a first step “in holding OPD accountable for years of abuse and scandals.”

  • Post News Group | February 16, 2023 | View article

    “I think it’s important to think that there are many Tyre Nichols’ and while in this particular moment there is righteous outrage, as there should be for the blatant and egregious murder of a young Black man for a fraudulent traffic stop, we have many, many cases here in the Bay Area that we perhaps have more agency over as Oaklanders.” George Galvis, CURYJ Executive Director and Co-Founder. 

  • Oakland North | February 6, 2023 | View article

    Ray’Von Jones, a former Oakland Tech teacher who now is a program manager at Communities United for Restorative Justice or CURYJ, heard of Zamudio’s plan to organize a vigil and block party for Nichols, she gave her full support.

    “It’s not easy as a student to organize something like this, so we’re really just here in solidarity, supporting with whatever they need,” Jones said. “But they’re running the show.”

    Jones said the students meant for the action to be disruptive, noting, “The point of an act of civil disobedience is to disobey a rule which is like being in school.”

  • SF Chronicle | January 26, 2023 | View article

  • “We understand that she has to maintain a delicate balance as DA, but her life experience could set her up to do some amazing things, especially if she gets the support,“ said Rocky Hunt, our Participatory Defense Coordinator in The Imprint | January 10, 2023 | View article

  • “During the first 100 days of DA Price’s tenure, our coalition of advocates will hold her administration accountable to commitments made during the campaign, including community calls for decarceration, decriminalization, and accountability. Only then will voters and systems-impacted folks know that DA Price is the change we’ve been waiting for.” in the article by Ella Baker Center | January 3, 2023 | View article

  • “How do you take a healthy person in custody who has no health problems and then they mysteriously die? There’s not an uncanny correlation. It’s obvious he was murdered by Alameda police,” George Galvis said.

    KQED| April 22, 2021 | View article

  • Black, Latino, Asian Americans are raising money and helping to escort senior citizens who might not feel safe.

    NBC News | February 19, 2021 | View article

  • Evelyn Canal, Dream Beyond Bars fellow and advocate for incarcerated youth, recounts what it was like wearing a monitor and now fights for young people’s rights while in the system.



    NBC News | July 25, 2021 | View article

  • Protesters call for early release for some inmates; vaccine distribution clouds debate

    East Bay Times | January 31, 2021 | View article

  • Panel discussion moderated by Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, with Xochtil Larios of CURYJ, Pastor Mike McBride of Live Free, and Zach Norris of the Ella Baker Center.

    Alameda County Library | January 27,2021 | View panel discussion

  • “Growing up in elementary school and middle school, as we were taught about Dr. King, we were taught this co-opted, sanitized, whitewashed version of Dr. King that was really meant about social control, it was about behaving well, it was about assimilation,” Galvis said.

    San Francisco Public Press | January 18, 2021 | View article

  • Interview with former Dream Beyond Bars Coordinator, Daniel Mendoza

    Bioneers | View article

  • Oakland activists and advocates compare today’s treatment of pro-Trump insurrectionists with what they’ve witnessed at local protests.

    The Oaklandside | January 6, 2021 | View article

  • Editorial by Hayden Renato

    Evident Change | December 9, 2020 | View editorial

  • Editorial by Tom Steyer and George Galvis

    Sacramento Bee | September 12, 2020 | View editorial

  • In a three year span, Latinos in California represented 46% of deadly police shootings – second to the rates for African Americans

    The Guardian | June 12, 2020 | View article

📖 Culture of Storytelling

Our stories are sacred. In every story there is a teaching. Stories are part of the vehicles of how we can transform our communities and make social change.

George Galvis, Executive Director

Xochtil Storytelling
Dream Beyond Bars filming

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