We need Black Youth Development in Oakland now more than ever

My name is Charles, and I am the founder of Energy Convertors. We are a youth and community-focused organization focused on improving education by cultivating agency in youth, their families, schools, and communities. We were fortunate to be featured in the new Black Youth Development (BYD) website highlighting organizations focusing on Black youth development in and around Oakland.

I moved to Oakland when I was about 10 years old. It was a struggle. I lived in multiple homeless shelters and I did not have much hope for what I could be and do. Programs like those featured on the BYD website were a haven for me and tons of other Black kids who grew up in similar circumstances. As of late, Oakland has started sounding the alarm again on crime. It has been rough with tumultuous politics, the profound impacts of the pandemic, and inflation raising the cost of everything but pay. These organizations are needed more than ever in the city so many of us love.

At Energy Convertors, we train young people how (and pay them) to utilize their agency, conduct research, speak publicly, and more. We are just one of the organizations highlighted. The list of organizations covers many different interests for Black youth to be engaged in. If you are a youth or someone who supports them, take a look. If you do not, take a look and find ways to support the organizations doing things you appreciate. 

I’ll leave you with this: Schools and churches close daily, and the streets and poverty are open 24 hours a day. We start at a disadvantage, but the village can overcome anything with the right villagers.

What do you think?

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