The Education for Liberation and Power Project (ELPP) integrates new members and orients them to the principles and campaigns for economic justice, restorative and social justice. Each year ELPP formally trains approximately 20-30 youth through paid and unpaid internships. ELPP provides our members with ongoing training opportunities through anti-oppression, restorative justice, communications/spokesperson development training, political education, community organizing and other leadership skills development. ELPP graduates put their new skills into action as part of our ladder of engagement and go on to actively design, lead, engage in and support social justice campaigns, including around immigrant rights, shelter access, youth homelessness, police accountability and others discussed here. ELPP interns are hired each year during the Spring and Summer.
List of Supporters
Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Cricket Island Foundation
Johnson Family Foundation
Hill Snowdon Foundation
New York Community Trust
New York Foundation
North Star Foundation
NYC Fund for Women and Girls
Stonewall Community foundation
Current Campaigns & Projects:
Rainbow to Justice campaign includes the work we do both to train young queer and trans youth about their rights and to articulate what justice looks like from their perspective to make meaningful policy change. At FIERCE we provide training so folks know their rights and how to effectively participate in cop-watch teams to protect our people from police violence. We are currently building an ongoing Bronx cop-watch team as part of our training that will bring FIERCE members together with neighborhood residents. The Bronx cop-watch teams may work with other organizations but we will ensure that they are led by FIERCE youth leaders. Ideally we will be able to have a cop-watch team that can support both youth and anyone in our community who is unjustly harassed, surveilled, arrested, or detained by police officers. This means we will also partner with groups like Bronx Defenders and Legal aid to assist us with legal challenges that come up.
FIERCE is also actively engaged in the Community for Police reform’s (CPR) campaigns on changing state policy and getting police out of the school system. Our members are engaged in CPR’s policy committee and bring new youth to direct actions on policing that center young people in the battle to increase police accountability. We know that our participation in CPR will allow us to build our strategic alliances that we can use to participate in policy change on the systemic level and defines what justice looks like in a way that will bring ur membership together with community residents. We know that this work will allow us to define the “ Rainbow to Justice” as systemic change in the criminal justice system that centers queer and trans youth of color while simultaneously enhancing the human rights and dignity of all oppressed people. At FIERCE we believe the path to greater liberation and freedom from the criminal “injustice” system can only happen if our young people are at the center of any material changes that occur in policy and shifts in the values of oppressed communities.
While a culture of victim blaming and personal responsibility prevail, FIERCE recognizes the irreparable harm of detention–youth and adults can serve years of time inside, and severe mental and emotional damage often result in plea bargains and other symptoms of goliath systemic oppression. The FIERCE Youth Bail Fund is at its core a community defense strategy for those who are often targeted by the system and allows us to work uncompromisingly towards our collective vision and transformative work against state violence and criminalization.
As a restorative justice organization, the Youth Bail Fund enables FIERCE to provide cash bail funds for youth who rely on underground and criminalized economies to cope with a lack of stable housing, unemployment, food and housing insecurity, homelessness, or trauma. Through cash bail, the criminal legal system traps youth, their families, and entire communities into crippling legal debt before they even have their day in court. Our initial goal is to raise at least $10,000 by the end of this calendar year which we can help anywhere from 3-7 members who face bails in the range of $200-$3,000.
Main focus areas:
» Youth Bail Fund for FIERCE Members based in New York who may need support for bail posts, tickets, fines and/or legal representation
» Community organizing training in Know Your Rights (KYR), Copwatch, Immigrant Right defense and info sessions about NYS Legal System
» “FIERCE Safety Guarantee” – a community effort to identify LGBTQ-affirming and accessible spaces and re-frame a safety net that includes the needs of LGBTQIA+ youth of color in New York City
Fierce is dedicated to building the collective power of directly impacted LGBTQ+ youth of color. Fierce’s housing committee specifically focuses on transforming the institutions and policies that hinders our access to suitable, sustainable shelter and long term housing. Our goals and campaigns focus on leveraging our collective power to change the oppressive conditions we observe in our communities, especially as it relates to gentrification, homelessness, and inadequate conditions in shelters. Some of our immediate goals include the evaluation and improvement of the conditions and practices in homeless shelters, as well as establishing a pipeline to sustainable housing from shelters. We are also dedicated to building community with our members and create a culture of peace, community, and collectivity! We are actively building the collective power of our young people who are down to collectively organize for affordable and sustainable housing in the Bronx and NYC as a whole. Our regular meeting days will be every Wednesday from 5-6:30pm.
Main Focus Areas:
» Shelter conditions
Long Term Housing
#QTPOC Anti Bullying campaign
FIERCE organizers work to to raise youth voice around bullying as an effort to increase youth led solutions that don’t focus on putting more police in our schools or punish youth with neglect, suspension, and/or detention. We believe that building communities of inclusion can be created if we educate all school stakeholders about the impacts of bullying and prejudice amongst adults and young people. We plan to host town halls in schools across the to raise the youth’s solutions about bullying as well as highlight the contradiction of the school system that leaves youth to fend for themselves with little to no support from adults. We hope that this will shift the narrative in schools about how to create a safe and supportive learning environment without police engagement.
Through our work with NY’s Gender and Sexuality Alliances we will be able to build a critical mass of youth who have strategies about how to create supportive
school environments where bullying is not an issue. As of now we have a database of at least fifteen schools throughout New York City that have GSA’s and want to work with FIERCE to bring the schools together. In the spring of 2020 we plan to host a GSA summit to share ideas among schools and to build greater support for youth led solutions to bullying that don’t involve using punitive measures to solve this issue.
FIERCE 2nd Home – 350 Day Challenge Initiative
*clocks starts ticking October 1st*
FIERCE is working on opening a 24 hour drop in center in Harlem, New York that will provide training, workshops, drop-in day services and professional development tools for LGBTQIA-identified youth (13-25 years).