In partnership with grassroots community leaders and young activists across our state, our foundation is supporting the #SchoolsNotPrisons Arts and Music Tour, rallying the voices of young people and artists to call for a dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline in communities of color, and replacing it with pathways of wellness, hope, and opportunity.
The 10-stop statewide tour kicked off Aug 6 in Sacramento, and made its second stop in San Bernardino this past weekend, graciously hosted by the Santos Manuel Student Union at Cal State San Bernardino.
Local faith and nonprofit leaders joined in supporting hundreds of young people from the Inland Empire who enjoyed spoken word artists, hip-hop sensation Diggy Simmons, local favorites Audio Push and many others who came together around a clear and resonant message: invest in our future and our dreams. And if you want #SchoolsNotPrisons, one of the most important things you can do is vote.
A powerful part of the day was an intimate roundtable discussion before the public event where local young people came together with artists for honest conversation about the challenges in their lives.
One young woman later posted on Twitter: “Sat in a panel with @Diggy_Simmons and other artists…got to speak my mind…that’s just a blessing.”
And Diggy wrote right back: “Your outlook was spot on. Keep shining!”
Tour events are free, and combine art, music and community presentations highlighting important local issues. In San Bernardino, youth and community leaders talked about the importance of reducing school suspensions as a step toward ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and called for a new county task force to study what San Bernardino County can do to invest in prevention over punishment.
The tour is supporting the purposeful and peaceful mobilization of young people and hearing their calls for a society that prizes investments in education, wellness, prevention, jobs and housing more than the construction of prisons.
Or in the words of our young people who took part in a recent statewide youth advocacy weekend, “Help us free our dreams.” That’s how we’re going to make Health Happen Here in California.
For more information about the #SchoolsNotPrisons tour, go to www.SchoolsNotPrisons.vote and join us for the next tour stop Sept 24 in Fresno.