“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”Martin Luther King Jr.
Curing the Gun Violence Epidemic: Young Activists Coalition understands that gun violence is a serious epidemic in our country, specifically for Black, brown, and trans communities. We demand the closure of the “boyfriend loophole” in order to prevent domestic abusers from arming themselves. However, we recognize that this measure will not tackle the root cause of gun violence for Black, brown, and trans communities. Therefore, we also insist on the abolition of and divestment from the police, re-investing those funds into Black, brown, and trans communities as a means of ending the cycles of state-sanctioned violence inflicted upon said communities.
An End to Endless Wars: In modern history, the United States has served as a constant destabilizing force in the Middle East and Latin America. The U.S. has continued to serve as an imperialist force, which has come at the cost of both American and non-American lives. The military-industrial complex preys on the lives of poor Americans, specifically poor Black and brown Americans. We demand an end to imperialism, endless wars, and the complete disregard for American and non-American lives.
Responding to the Climate Crisis: Young Activists Coalition recognizes the drastic implications of the climate crisis, specifically its impact on Black and Indigenous people of color. In order to face this crisis, we must achieve 100% renewable energy and net-zero emissions by 2030 through a just and equitable transition. We believe the best way to achieve these goals is through the implementation of the Green New Deal. For too long, our economy has worked against our Earth and against Indigenous peoples. We affirm the need for a transformation of our economy, our culture, and our society in order to ensure climate justice for all.
Reforming the Education System: The American education system is failing every one of us, especially our students of color. As an organization dedicated to activism and empowering young people, we demand that students have the right to free speech, including the right to organize, in its full capacity, within the schoolhouse gates. In addition, we believe that students deserve the right to restorative justice practices within their schools. These practices are intended and designed to reform students through community practices rather than simply punishing them, exacerbating the school-to-prison pipeline for marginalized students. We recognize that students have a right to higher education and vocational schooling. Therefore, we demand that all public colleges and vocational schools be made tuition-free through a tax on Wall Street and that all student debt be forgiven. However, we understand that we cannot reform the American education system without taking into consideration the needs of parents and educators. In order to best serve their needs, the United States must implement universal child care and Pre-K, protect teachers’ rights to collective bargaining through unions, and ensure that all educators receive pay that reflects the important work they do towards building our country’s future.
Fighting for Racial Justice: Young Activists Coalition acknowledges the systemic racial injustices that stem from hundreds of years of slavery, colonialism, and unjust policies. American racism persists in every facet of life, therefore we must work to be inherently anti-racist in every facet of our activism. We call for the abolishment of the prison industrial complex and the corrupt policing system which have historically been used as tools to oppress Black and Indigenous communities. Instead, we demand the implementation of a restorative justice system that works for the betterment of our collective community. We acknowledge the profound impact of policies such as the decriminalization of marijuana and the implementation of community-based policing will have on the lives of people of color. However, we also understand that for Black Americans, justice must come in the form of monetary reparations as well. Therefore, YAC stands in solidarity with our fellow activists of color and demands racial justice for each and every one of us.
Queer Liberation: The fight for Queer Liberation in America did not end after the legalization of gay marriage, particularly for trans women of color. Because of this, Young Activists Coalition acknowledges that Pride is inherently a protest through which we must demand federal protections for all Queer people. YAC fights for LGBTQ folks to be protected from discriminatory policies in their workplaces, living situations, adoption agencies, medical institutions, and schools. Furthermore, YAC demands an end to anti-lgbt hate crimes and calls on the federal government to provide more comprehensive legal resources to victims of such crimes. We insist that “conversion therapy” is completely outlawed and recognized as an act of homophobic violence. Furthermore, we demand that Queer kids have the right to come out to their family on their own terms, and that psychologists or therapists not be allowed to “out” kids to their parents. However, we understand that Queer liberation does not simply include violence prevention, it must also encompass education; namely, education for the parents of Queer kids, and education in the form of Queer history and inclusive sex education for all students. The Queer liberation movement has come far since its beginnings, but we cannot forget that there is still much to fight for.
Intersectional Feminism: Having begun solely as a feminist organization, YAC understands the importance of being inherently anti-sexist in our work. We recognize that, to truly be feminists, we must acknowledge the larger societal hurdles that are placed on LGBTQ+ women, women of color, women with disabilities, women of lower socio-economic status, and gender non-conforming individuals. With all this in mind, we demand that women receive equal pay for equal work, specifically women of historically disenfranchised communities who currently make much less than straight, white, able-bodied men and women. Next, we fight for each woman and gender non-conforming individual’s right to reproductive freedom. This encompasses abortion access for all, inclusive medical research, comprehensive sex-education, and the public funding of planned parenthood. Furthermore, Young Activists Coalition vows to support all women and gender non-conforming folks who come forward as survivors of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. Though not all sexual violence is enacted upon women, we believe that most stems from a harmful culture of toxic masculinity that must be repaired through the abolishment of gender roles and norms. The patriarchal society that currently exists can and must be torn down by every person of every gender. This is the change that Young Activists Coalition always has and always will fight for.
Ensuring Healthcare as a Human Right: Young Activists Coalition holds firm that all people have an intrinsic right to quality healthcare. Therefore, YAC fights for Medicare for All, a single-payer, national healthcare program that will dismantle the unjust and unequal healthcare system that exists in the U.S. today. Furthermore, we recognize that healthcare must include reproductive care, including but not limited to: ensuring the right to abortion regardless of gender identity, income, or documentation status, guaranteeing comprehensive and inclusive sex education for all, and providing free and accessible cancer screenings and birth control. As part of our journey to creating a more inclusive society, we also demand universal access to transition surgery for transgender individuals and higher quality healthcare for all marginalized people who have historically received less than adequate services. Young Activists Coalition fights for the right of all people to live freely with agency over their bodies and access to the care that they need.
Workers’ Rights: The past few decades have made it more clear than ever that American workers need a working class movement to overcome the immense amount of wealth inequality in this country. Aided by our politicians, the rich have progressively become richer while the poor and middle class remain stagnant. Young Activists Coalition holds firm that our movement should be specifically designed to protect workers’ rights, including the right to paid family leave, a living wage, a workplace free from discrimination, and protection from sexual harassment and assault in which workers have a secure way to come forward as a survivor without fear of retribution. As organizers, we understand that none of these rights are possible without the support of unions dedicated to social justice and collective bargaining. Therefore, YAC pledges our support to unions that have shown that they stand for social justice and the protection of all workers.
Immigrant Rights: Young Activist Coalition believes that every person has the right to immigrate in a safe and humane manner. Further, we understand that there are a few immediate steps that must be taken; first and foremost, we demand the complete abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. ICE has proven to have no regard for Black and brown lives and no regard for the hardships faced by American immigrants. Therefore, YAC believes in the creation of a better immigration system. This includes the complete halt of deportations, an easier process to seek asylum for our most vulnerable people, a more accessible path to citizenship, and protections for undocumented people living in America. As part of these protections, we reaffirm the importance of the DACA program. Young Activists Coalition also believes that immigrants, regardless of citizenship status, hold the constitutional right to an attorney, especially when seeking asylum. Together, we can and will implement a just system of immigration for all.
Accessible Democracy: Young Activists Coalition is, at its roots, an organization dedicated to fighting for a society and democracy that is built by and for the people. This new society that we fight for must actually allow all people to vote. That means allowing people with felonies to vote, ending racist voter suppression laws, making election day a national holiday, lowering the voting age to 16, and ending gerrymandering. These are all policies that will allow for the American people to have a say in who represents them and what those representatives do. We also understand that we cannot only give more people the right to vote, we must also change the way our voting occurs, we must advocate for the abolishment of the Electoral College, put greater emphasis on the importance of direct democracy in this country, and implement ranked choice voting. These are clear ways that we can put the power back in the hands of the American people. In order to remove the power from the hands of corporations and the elite upper class, we must also abolish Super PACs and overturn Citizens United, the court ruling that has allowed for those with more wealth to control our democracy. However, Young Activists Coalition also understands that if we want to achieve the change outlined in these principles, it will not be through electoralism, but through direct actions, mutual aid, and true solidarity.