Dear Friends, allies, and comrades,
I am reaching out to all of you to request your support. As some of you know, I am currently the National Youth Partnership Strategist at the Youth First Initiative, a project dedicated to supporting campaigns that are looking to close youth prisons and reinvest in community alternatives for youth. In my current role I manage the Youth First Youth Leaders Network, where I provide young emerging leaders with the training and tools to lead the fight against youth incarceration.
As part of this work, my primary duty is to ensure that youth leaders in the states that we are working with are being supported and placed in leadership positions where they are guiding the future of youth justice. However, as we know, our young leaders have needs; some are students and parents, while others struggle with finding jobs and resources as a result of the barriers placed on them by the unjust systems that we are trying to dismantle. And yet, even with all of these barriers, they show up to meetings, share their narratives, and put their bodies and stories on the line to help others.
That said, I want to dedicate my birthday this year (May 20th) to collecting funds to support the young people that I am currently working with in the states that have partnered with us at Youth First. I want to create a small fund to support the youth leaders in the network, the fund will offer:
1. Programming support for activities of the network; and
2. emergency funds for our youth leaders
As some of you know, six years ago, I was released from a youth prison after serving a four year sentence. I barely had any money when I first got out and after nearly 6 months’ worth of job hunting, I was denied 15 jobs. Even with all of this happening I still spoke at events, tried to help others, and did everything I could to stay in the fight to end youth incarceration.
I share this to say that I don’t want our young leaders to have to choose between being a part of the movement or having to hustle to pay their phone bill or and make ends meet. I want our youth leaders to feel they are supported. I want them to succeed and thrive and with your help we can make that possible. If you support me, then please support this fund.
Any donation amount is welcomed. Remember this isn’t just for me, this is for all the amazing youth that I have the privilege of working with through Youth First!
Thank you for your support!
Hernan Carvente Martinez