Our Purpose is a six week storytelling and fundraising campaign with the goal of connecting to the core of Y-WE’s transformative work with youth. We are decoding what it means to build a community of belonging, sharing the perspectives of Y-WE participants, and centering our vision of building a just and liberated future. To help advance our collective vision and reach our fundraising goal of $150,000 to power our programs, make your gift today!
At Y-WE, we are building toward a just and liberated world because we believe in a future where all young people are free to pursue their dreams without systemic barriers that limit their access and imagination. We know that embodying this vision means centering and holding BIPOC, gender expansive, & LGBTQIA+ youth and families as sacred and valuable.
Adolescence should be a transformative time of self-discovery and increased freedom. Yet youth with intersecting identities – such as BIPOC, Muslim, trans, immigrant – experience compounding harms from discrimination, oppression, and social invalidation that threaten their personal growth and development.
Understanding who we center, along with how and why, keeps us grounded in Our Purpose:
Centering BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) experiences
At Y-WE, youth of color can take a break from merely surviving systemic realities and have their lived experiences validated and affirmed in community. Through mentorship that reflects their identities, we weave a network of support and solidarity amongst BIPOC women and gender expansive folks. When BIPOC youth know their experiences are centered, they can come as they are and show up as their authentic selves.
Offering radical welcome
Our participants hold a wide range of racial and gender identities and we radically welcome and uplift trans, gender expansive, nonbinary, and LGBTQAI+ participants, mentors, and facilitators. For youth who feel forced to code-switch as a matter of daily survival, participating in a community as their authentic selves is a portal to empowerment. There’s still an epidemic of violence against women, trans, and Black bodies – and YWE stands for disrupting that as normal. We honor the wholeness of our youth by welcoming their grief and pain, all while centering hope, joy, creativity, and interdependence.
Building collective power
At the same time, we firmly believe that youth who experience society’s greatest inequities should not bear the brunt of dismantling unjust systems. That’s why realizing a just and liberated future requires the commitment and participation of all of us. Through intergenerational communities of belonging, youth build relationships across difference, feel cared for and extend care themselves, exchange wisdom and experience, grow identity safety and solidarity, and open access points to step confidently into their futures.
Together with our partners, Y-WE co-creates necessary conditions for action – personal, interpersonal, institutional, systems – that advance equity and justice. Centering youth of color voices and cultivating their agency, creativity, and leadership is fundamental to claiming a liberated future now.