By Shaquana Boykin, OYUnited-SparkAction Digital Engagement Fellow
A New Deal for Youth (ND4Y) is a youth-led, youth-centered effort advocating for the creation of new systems, policies, investments, and structures that reimagine life for young people in America. New Deal for Youth’s Changemakers developed a policy agenda that includes several issue areas: Economic Justice and Opportunity Justice, Healing and Wellbeing, Justice and Safe Communities, Environmental Justice, Immigration Justice, and Democracy and Civil Engagement.
As a Change Partner of ND4Y, OYUnited joined the New Deal for Youth Week of Action from October 6th – 9th in Washington DC. This Week of Action brought together organizational partners like OYUnited and the ND4Y Changemakers, a cohort of young leaders between the ages of 15 and 32 from across the country. These young leaders are advocates and organizers who work across a range of issues facing their communities.
Young leaders from across the country represented OYUnited at this Week of Action, including Kimberly Pham, our Engagement Coordinator, Makayla McDonald, one of our current Fellows, and myself (Shaquana Boykin) as our Digital Engagement Fellow.
Thursday, October 6, 2022 – Legislative Advocacy
During the Week of Action we met with policymakers to raise awareness of ND4Y’s policy agenda, grow champions, and demonstrate the power of young people. I was part of a group that included two New Deal for Youth Changemakers, Cody and Alexis, along with Gerod Blue, Senior Policy Manager at the Forum for Youth Investment. We met with a staffer for California Representative Sara Jacobs, Arion Laws, who was open to listening to our concerns and responded positively to our request for Representative Jacobs to be our champion for New Deal for Youth Demands. The meeting went well, and it was an exciting opportunity to uplift our priorities and ensure Members of Congress are committed to issues impacting Opportunity Youth.
Friday, October 7, 2022 – Summit for Administrative Advocacy
The next day, the New Deal for Youth held a Summit for Administrative Advocacy at Southwest Library in Washington, DC. The Summit provided space for sharing our priorities with members of the Biden-Harris Administration and learning how the Biden-Harris Administration can positively impact the future of young people. Watch the full Summit here.
Saturday, October 8, 2022 – Public Awareness / Mural Painting & Block Party
We also engaged in activities together to build community among the Changemakers and Change Partners, including painting a mural to give back locally. The mural painting was led by OYUnited co-founder and former member of OYUnited’s National Council of Young Leaders, Francisco Garcia!
Overall, the ND4Y Week of Action was an impactful way to build community while raising awareness about our policy platform. OYUnited is proud to be a Change Partner of the ND4Y movement, and we’re excited to continue working as part of this coalition to transform current systems to better support young people and Opportunity Youth.
A passionate advocate and youth organizer, Shaquana Boykin works closely with the SparkAction team to enhance Opportunity Youth United’s digital presence by producing content, coordinating social media, and launching creative events and activations.