H.O.L.L.A! Believes Youth Development is about making Assata Shakur’s affirmation a reality: It is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains!

Youth development is about deepening our (H.O.L.L.A!) commitments to each other, working together, throwing ourselves into resisting systems of oppression, organizing and taking care of each other. This is about long term grassroots sustainability, power, love and community building and healing. We have developed our own Healing-Centered Youth Organizing Curriculum. 

How Our Lives Link Altogether! developed the Youth Leadership, Transformation and Healing Process in order to create pathways and spaces for healthy cultural and political development for youth of color. This is to ensure and re-produce long-term grassroots leadership and movement praxis. A second aim is to provide every day opportunities for young leaders to be able to heal from the generational hurt alongside their families and communities. Third, H.O.L.L.A! asserts that healing, relationship building and sociopolitical development requires an intentional process, within an intentional context, that encompasses many moments and episodes, encounters, reflections, experiences and actions as a collective process of transformation. H.O.L.L.A! currently has three programs within our Youth Leadership, Healing and Transformation Process to support youth most impacted by structural
violence.

The curricula for the Youth Leadership, Transformation, and Healing Process is designed to take youth from marginalized communities of color through a relationship and skill building process that is deeply connected to culture, spirituality and resisting structural violence as individuals and collective agents. The process is meant to have an accumulative effect on the youth as they engage in our activities, trainings, experiences and rituals over the course of 18-months.

H.O.L.L.A!’s Youth Leadership, Transformation and Healing Process

  1. The Ritual Programs
  2. The Nat Turner Revolutionary Leadership Training (NTRLT)
  3. The Youth Organizing Collective Training (YOC)

THE RITUAL PROGRAM

The Ritual Program is our base building and knowledge sharing platform. H.O.L.L.A!’s Healing Justice Organizer and Street Organizers are trained as cultural communicators and relationship builders. These Organizers conduct street outreach canvassing in local marginalized communities of color to engage youth of color throughout the city who are not connected to H.O.L.L.A! programs and services. The Ritual Program is a platform to build relationships with youth and their families. We do this by hosting youth-led community events, functions, performing local community canvassing, and attending local community gatherings to meet young people where they are at.

NAT TURNER REVOLUTIONARY LEADERSHIP TRAINING

The Nat Turner Revolutionary Leadership Training (NTRLT) is the first phase of H.O.L.L.A!’s Youth Leadership, Transformation and Healing Process. The Nat Turner Revolutionary Leadership Training is a six-month relationship-building, political education, skill-building, resource- connecting and organizing training for youth 13-25 years old, emphasizing an engagement with those who have been pushed out of or unengaged by mainstream institutions. NTRLT’s objectives are to develop youth of color leadership by building capacity for critical social analysis through political education and socio-emotional development. NTRLT supplements analysis with concrete skill-building through group facilitation, public speaking, community outreach, event planning, campaign development, conflict de-escalation and mediation, creative and formal writing, community engagement and conducting participatory action research. This is done within the context of intentional relationship building as a praxis of decolonization, and ethos of radical healing. The program’s priorities also include compensating young people for their time, energy, and analyses. NTRLT has four interrelated components: 1) Youth Street Outreach; 2) Programming and Training; 3) Resource (Re)Connecting; and 4) Post-Program Support/Transition.

Goals

H.O.L.L.A! established NTRLT’s goals to:

  • Connect youth to mainstream resources and social services
  • Build grassroots leadership capacities of youth of color through a framework of healing, political education and youth community organizing
  • Raise up youth leaders from within the organization
  • Develop capacity to launch the Healing Justice Movement

Strategies

To achieve these goals, H.O.L.L.A! then formulated seven overarching and interlocking NTRLT strategies.

  • Develop a Non-Traditional Approach to Youth and Community Development
  • Create the Youth Leadership, Transformation and Healing Process (Youth Programs)
  • Locate and reach out to youth of color not benefiting from resources and social services
  • Locate and reach out to youth of color interested in being change agents in their communities
  • Provide hands-on training to build youth leadership capacities
  • Build strong relationships with institutions and social services agencies that serve youth of color
  • facilitate healthy individual and collective identity development and a sense of belonging
  • Bridge connections between youth of color and social service agencies and institutions
  • Co-create a platform for youth leadership, political engagement and political development.

YOUTH ORGANIZING COLLECTIVE

The Youth Organizing Collective (YOC) is an experience within the second phase of the Youth Leadership, Transformation and Healing Process. The Youth Organizing Collective consist of young people ages 13-25 who come from diverse backgrounds, with deep histories of love, trauma and hope. The Youth Organizing Collective is open to young leaders who have completed the first phase (The Nat Turner Revolutionary Leadership Training ) of the Youth Leadership, Transformation and Healing Process. The Youth Organizing Collective is a life-time commitment. The first 12 months of YOC functions as an applied Youth Organizer position where participants earn $1000 per month as they engage and develop as healers and leaders. Youth Organizers in YOC build community and create safer spaces for each other, their families and communities through the praxis of Human Justice, political education and community organizing. The Youth Organizing Collective goals are to encourage relationships, skill-building, and political and collective agency in young people to assist youth organizers in their process of a healing centered transformation and development.

The praxis includes:

  • community organizing and movement building built on foundations of grassroots ethics
  • artistic modalities and expressions of healing.
  • create and maintain a safe space where participants can develop individual and collective identities and a sense of belonging.
  • gaining concrete skills in grassroots healing traditions and practices.
  • organizational leadership and development.
  • policy analysis, curriculum development, facilitation and event planning.
  • psycho-spiritual and emotional development.
  • re-connecting to indigenous traditions and rituals.
  • conceptualize and produce initiatives such as community healing circles, workshops, performing arts programs, and advocacy work promoting institutional realignment and accountability

During the first 12 months of YOC, Youth organizers are partnered with multiple “Dream Builders” to provide intimate interpersonal guidance, relationship and shared accountability to reach personal, collective, and other goals. Youth organizers in YOC will be exposed to additional skills development and training to help navigate mainstream economies, such as graduate level research methodology and writing, policy analysis, community organizing, event planning, effective communication. Young people in YOC have the option to seek services and resources through H.O.L.L.A!’s network, such as GED/High School Diploma preparation, employment training, and paid internships.

Other aspects of the program facilitate political agency through our Healing Justice Workshop and Training Series, which all the young people in YOC learn to facilitate. The series aims to encourage youth to explore meaningful ways to resist oppression and challenge privilege. H.O.L.L.A! encourages young people to take control over their own narratives, whether that means resisting through engaging and art making, building with family who support varied political projects, critical participatory action research, or community organizing.