'Youth Uprising" celebrates 7 years in E. Oakland


"Youth Uprising" is an organization that's managed to not only survive, but it has thrived for the past 7 years. The goal all along has been to provide positive outcomes for local young people. The community that has become Youth Uprising is celebrating its seventh year as an Oakland organization that promotes positive change for thousands of young people.

"We've served over 5,500 young people and we're really about meeting young people where they are, so whether they're out of school, whether they're coming from the juvenile justice system, whether they're in foster care, this really is a safe haven for them to come and develop their skills, become job-ready," Omana Imani explained.

Youth Uprising began in 2005 with a combination of private and public funding including from Measure Y, which provides money for police services and for programs that promote good decision-making and positive outcomes for Oakland youth. "A lot of people that's probably been in a lot of shootouts and stuff, or used to gang bang and stuff, they're actually hanging in here now," said Charlquilla Slater.

Much of what Youth Uprising does focuses on developing the positive aspects of Oakland's youth culture including a dance phenomenon known as "turfin" which has become an international sensation on YouTube. And, though funding is tight in the down economy, Youth Uprising has big plans for the future. "A lot more work on community economic development, labor force attachment, really thinking about the need to engage the private sector and build a labor force for them so that our people can be employed," founder Olis Simmons says.

Youth Uprising measures its success in many ways. For instance, last year, 82 percent of its participants say they learned non-violent ways to solve conflicts and disagreements.

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