FROM THE ROCKAWAY YOUTH TASK FORCE ORGANIZERS:
RYTF Membership Engagement Organizer Malachi Davidson speaking at a UYC rally outside the US Department of Education
The Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), is an organization comprised of other organizations — groups across New York City, that work together to fight for education and social reform. It contains organizations such as Make the Road New York (Brooklyn and Staten Island), Future of tomorrow, Sistas and Brothas United, and now Rockaway Youth task Force (RYTF).
RYTF joined UYC in December of 2017, and since then the organization has participated in many more reform activities. We have participated in multiple town halls with UYC (and even with the Mayor), and rallies, a gala, planning committees, and retreats with fellow organizations. In one town hall, youth were able to voice their opinions on Gun safety within schools. This followed the safety in schools town hall with the mayor. In the former town hall many students felt unheard, leading UYC to set up another town hall to address those issues. The forum was led and controlled by students. Recently, there was a planning committee meeting in which people from the organizations within UYC worked together to correct documents, and make plans for actions that will ensure safe school environments through less policing and more emotional support for students. UYC organized an advocacy trip to DC to continue to spread the word about the action. Youth from each group spoke to representatives in order to demand that school funding not be used to increase policing in schools, and to fight further criminalization of students.
Joining UYC has helped RYTF due to the fact that it strengthens the base and support of the organization. A larger network means more support for issues that any organization faces. If there is ever a need for rallying or extra support for any issues within either community, there will be a stronger presence. It also helps to empower youth. It teaches them to develop skills that will help them fight racial and social justice issues. It develops a new generation, with a bright future.
~by Olukemi Jemilugba