A LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY

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To All of Pomona, 

 

We are writing today to call you to action. We invite you to move toward

at-promise youth, live your lives with them, find joy in their successes, and accompany them in failures. Through relationships, we bring equity, reconciliation, justice, and restoration. This begins with our perspective - how we hear and tell stories. The stories of at-promise youth in our city raise our perspective and speak of a brighter future if we listen and act.

 

Take Anthony Hostetler Munoz, an at-promise youth from Pomona. Raised by his mom while his dad was in prison, Anthony found his place in gangs and in the streets. He was eventually charged with robbery, incarcerated for one year, and placed in foster care for seven months. Some in Pomona would have written him off as yet another life spent in and out of prison, jobless, uneducated, and a burden to the city. Anthony defies such an impoverished view. 

 

Gente Organizada recently published an Equity Report that calls all of Pomona to accountability, especially with respect to black youth, transitional-aged youth, foster youth, system-impacted youth, and English learners. We are thankful for their report. JU4Y aims to raise the perspective of community members so they see the potential of at-promise youth, and that good work continues. Now and into the future, we commit to act in the following ways and invite you to join our efforts:

At-promise has replaced the term at-risk. We focus on the potential of youth & use asset-based language to speak of them.

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JU4Y MISSION

We mentor at-promise youth to be better students, better people, and better leaders.

  • Educate one another on restorative justice and its practices;

  • Conduct and join regular listening circles to build healing relationships, raise the voice of at-promise youth, and promote dialogue;

  • Strengthen leadership and civic engagement of black youth, system-impacted youth, foster youth, transitional-age youth, and English learners;

  • Center youth diversion efforts on community relationships to improve alternative sentencing;

  • Offer “youth to work” job opportunities, improve access to housing, and develop life-skills for transitional-aged youth;

  • Support students and their families as they transition back to in-person instruction.

Today, Anthony is a leader among his peers and a model citizen, bettering the quality of others’ lives. With mentoring and support by many, he supports his family, returned to his studies, and is employed at a local restaurant. His story raises our perspective and tells of a brighter future; still, we must labor together. In the past year alone, Pomona has lost nine (9) young people and transitional-aged youth to violence, overdose, and suicide. The need to listen and act is clear and urgent.

 

JU4Y demands restorative justice. Only then will our city heal. From those who are system impacted to city leaders, gang members to police officers, we as a city must act toward restoration. We stand against any person or body who seeks to leverage their position or circumstance to the harm of others. Policies that enhance accountability, support our basic rights, reconcile us with our neighbors, and enable our flourishing - these we affirm.

Written by:

Eric Vasquez | Ryan Quandt | Kendall Graves | Martha Galeana | George Walker | Nora Jacob | Anthony Rios |

Jehova Moreno | Trinity Casey | Dayna Garret | Tremale Ratcliffe | Precious Castro | Josey Ramirez | Georgina Gomez | Alex Cedeno | and approved by many at-promise residents in every district of Pomona