We are at a crucial juncture.
Here in Alameda County, with the closure of the Department of Juvenile Justice, youth can be sent to the Ranch or to Juvenile Hall, neither of which was designed for longer-term stays. Without a comprehensive model for community supervision, there is the real risk that we will simply be shuffling cages and, worse, sentencing youth to adult prisons. We are already seeing these effects: in just one year the youth population in Alameda’s secure treatment facility has rocketed from 3 incarcerated young people to 23.
We need spaces to demonstrate that we can work differently with young people who would otherwise be incarcerated and get good outcomes. We need spaces that provide the chance for power and growth before a young person “fails in” to services. Ending youth incarceration requires that we tackle the issue of criminalization from both sides: working with young people both before and after they catch a case.
BUILDING ONE: 1150 35th Ave, Oakland, CA
Opening its doors in June 2024, The Oscar Grant Youth Power Zone at the Fruitvale Transit Village Phase IIB is more than a home for CURYJ: It is the first building-block of community infrastructure that will help us realize the end to youth incarceration in California during our lifetimes.
CURYJ will occupy the 7,000 foot commercial space on the ground floor of the building, while The Unity Council and BRIDGE housing partner to provide 181 units of fully affordable family housing in the development above.
- Youth Leadership Development: Expanded program space for the Homies 4 Justice internship and Dream Beyond Bars Fellowship. Youth organizing.
- Policy: Grassroots advocacy and organizing around decarceration, immigration, and policing.
- Legal Services:
- Record analysis, cleaning and sealing
- Systems navigation and court support through Participatory Defense
- Crimmigration legal clinics
- Legal aid to address barriers to reentry
- Multi-Purpose Gathering Space:
- Space for 110 people
- Moveable stage with lighting
- Classes, workshops, evening, and weekend events
- Monthly dinners for participants and families
- Movement building hub
- Multimedia Lab:
- Trainings and workshops
- Youth Podcasts and creative productions
- La Cultura Cura Cultural Arts Café:
- Profit Sharing cafe offers employment and revenue
- 12-18 month fellowship to incubate entrepreneurial business
- CaliRican food and indigenously-sourced coffee
- Small bookshop and art gallery
- Hosts book talks, poetry reading, and small cultural arts events
Without a comprehensive model for community-led alternatives, there is the real risk that we will simply be shuffling young people’s cages and, worse, sentencing youth to adult prisons. We are already seeing these effects: in just one year the youth population in Alameda County’s secure treatment facility has rocketed from 3 incarcerated young people to 23.
BUILDING TWO: 3617 International Blvd, Oakland, CA
CURYJ is in the process of purchasing the old Bonanza store, a 10,000 square foot commercial space located directly across the street from building one of the OGYPZ. In the short term, the space can be used virtually as-is for our Community Healing work while we develop plans to retrofit the building to serve as a long-term program space and community resilience center.
- Life Coaching: Intensive-relationship based case management. Connection to resources and supports for life stabilization and success.
- Violence Interruption: Street outreach, de-escalation, conflict mediation, and restoration in the wake of violence
- Community Healing:
- Youth recreational center
- Large-scale community building events
- Small-scale circles, ceremonies, and restorative events
- Aztlan beautification mural projects
- Food Justice: Food distribution center and food pantry
- Center for Community Resilience:
- Rooftop garden and outdoor amphitheater
- Electric vehicle charging stations
- Energy efficient, low-water building with HVAC air and cooling
- Emergency preparedness trainings
- PPE and emergency supply station and emergency shelter
THE RETREAT CENTER FOR CULTURAL HEALING
We are a land-based people without land. For many of our community members, time outside of the city is inaccessible and we have lost connection to ourselves as children of earth. In line with the LandBack movement and cross-racial efforts at reparations and rematriation, we are planning to acquire and steward at least one acre of land in the hills of Alameda or Contra Costa county. This will become a Retreat Center for Cultural Healing open to CURYJ participants, partner organizations, and movement actors.
- Cabins/Yurts for overnight stays
- Ceremonial Grounds for cultural healing
- Outdoor Theater and Gathering Space
- Kitchen and Dining Area for breaking bread together
- Food and medicinal gardens
- Replicable Model: We want to fuel the movement for youth decarceration by providing a scalable model of what community-led alternatives look like. The Oscar Grant Youth Power will serve as a blueprint for partner organizations across the state to create their own solutions.
- Justice Reinvestment: Move funding and infrastructure away from systems of harm and into the hands of those most impacted by legacies of state violence. The OGYPZ creates an alternative pathway for young people to avoid incarceration. It also serves as a demonstration model for alternative community safety, with community-based violence interrupters and ambassadors who respond to low-level incidents in lieu of the police.
- LandBack: One third of our leadership team and board members identify as Indigenous and we strongly advocate a vision of solidarity in which land and infrastructure are in the hands and under the stewardship of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
- Cultural Arts: The OGYPZ is a venue for all forms of creative expressions. Through installations, readings, events, book talks, theater, and more we use arts, culture, and entertainment as vehicles to raise consciousness and promote social justice.
- Economic and Workforce Development: Too often our youth and communities are locked out of opportunities for advancement in high-wealth industries. By offering internships, career pathways, and a professional development program in entrepreneurship, we harness the innate resourcefulness and business skills of those young people who have made their way in the underground economy – and shift their skills into economic development that benefits all of us.
- Climate Resilience: The realities of human-caused climate change are exacerbated in communities that are already reeling histories of discriminatory policies and practices. The OGYPZ is intentionally designed to have a reduced carbon footprint, to promote walkability, access to the green economy, and to serve as a Climate Resilience Center for emergency preparedness and in case of disaster. We see climate resilience as a form of public safety; one that is inextricably linked with our efforts toward abolition and a healing future.
- Public Health/Public Safety: One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic brought into stark relief is that the physical health and wellness of our communities is directly tied to our safety. By creating a center for healing and resilience with opportunities for employment and financial stability, we are increasing the physical, emotional, and mental health of our youth and our communities. More physical, social, and economic health means less violence, which leads to greater social and economic health, in an ever-building virtuous cycle.
- Movement Building: The OGYPZ will serve as a hub for grassroots community organizing owned and led by us, for us with space for intergenerational education, culture-sharing, and coordinated movement building.
By working with us to create the Oscar Grant Youth Power Zone, our partners and funders are investing in our young people and in our community’s deep cultural resources. They are helping us become part of the first line of defense against rising gentrification and displacement, while funding the alternative to youth incarceration.
Alcibie Alliance Incorporated
George & Jaleh Bisharat
The Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation
James Simmons and Karen Rudolph Fund
If your foundation would like to know more about our work or make a philanthropic contribution, please contact our Development Department at email@example.com.