Reflections: Youth-Led “Teach-In” in Oakland Mobilizes for Boys and Men of Color in California

Last Saturday, about 120 local advocates gathered at the Oakland Museum of California for Mic Check: Mixtape in Motion, a “teach-in” aimed at mobilizing people around the critical challenges – and opportunities – facing boys and men of color across the state.

In celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (and leading up to tomorrow’s first field hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in Oakland) the “teach-in” – a form of non-violent protest in which participants attend forums, discussion panels, lectures, and free debates – was organized by several Bay Area youth organizations, and featured engaging workshops such as:

  • From the Fruit to the Root – Learn about the causes of community problems and how you can change the system.
  • Who has Power & how do You get it? – Find out who has the power to make change and how you can get it back.
  • Redefining Manhood – Define what it means to take care of business by being a man and building community.
  • Express Yo’Self: Youth Voice, Youth Power – Learn how expression can be a form of power, healing and strength.

Attendees were also treated to a mix of education and entertainment (or “edutainment”) led by a diverse group of facilitators, including an open mic session, drumming and cultural dance, and a musical performance by Ise Lyfe, a local hip-hop and spoken word artist who advocates for issues affecting low-income communities and people of color.

New America Media, a national collaboration of ethnic news organizations that also attended the event, will air a brief video during Friday’s Assembly Select Committee hearing documenting the teach-in and its impact on those who participated – some of whom will join policy innovators and community leaders in testifying on behalf of innovative policy and programmatic solutions that are already helping to improve the health and success of boys and men of color throughout the region.

Subsequent hearings will take place on the following dates:

  • March 2, 2012 – Field Hearing (Los Angeles)
  • April 13, 2012 – Field Hearing (Fresno)
  • August 2012 – Final Hearing (Sacramento)

PolicyLink would like to thank the following organizations for their help in coordinating last weekend’s teach-in:

For more information on PolicyLink efforts to improve outcomes for Boys and Men of Color, please visit

To learn more about the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, contact Larry Broussard, Chief of Staff, or Angela Haywood, Legislative and Capitol Director, Office of Assemblymember Sandré Swanson at (916) 319-2016.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing boys and men of color in California and across the nation? Tell us in the comments below, or join us tomorrow as we “live-tweet” from the Oakland hearing.

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