The Young Revolutionary Front is a community based group created and led by young people in the City of Merced. Our values are grounded in indigenous healing practices, practicing love, caring for community, political education, and the creation of alternative systems that address root issues in our communities. With a steady pace, we aim to contribute to dismantling capitalism, centering youth voice and experiences, and protecting our communities and environment.
Our Vision: To create a world that works for all living things, starting in Merced.
Our Mission: To teach and protect each other, heal and organize together on issues impacting our communities, and always to have fun!
Since our program launched, we have shared our experiences in the Valley and created a hyper-focused political education curriculum which guides young people through the foundations of capitalism, the way it shapes our communities and the impacts that it has on all aspects of our existence. The aim of this curriculum is to provide young people with a fundamental understanding of our current imposed economic system to further extend our efforts of creating something different that is grounded in community and care.
The Youth Employment Program
Through various organizing strategies, youth in Merced envisioned, advocated and ultimately secured a 1.2 million dollar allocation from ARPA funds for the creation of a Youth Employment Program in the City of Merced – the only city in the country to allocate ARPA funds to youth employment. We continue to ensure the program is implemented in a way that impacts youth as intended by centering the most vulnerable in our community.
Community, Organizing, Resistance, Activism (CORA) Academy
CORA is our annual summer youth academy that focuses on introducing young people to youth-led community efforts. The academy includes community building, political education, community organizing basics and an introduction to the importance of healing.
Protect Street Vendors!
Young people mobilized to demand that the Merced City Council take concrete steps to ensure the safety of our street vendors. This led the city council to update its street vending policy to be in compliance with the state, which is much more progressive in many aspects, including allowing vendors to continue their business even if they’re not U.S citizens.
Ed Justice Coalition
Our intensive research on School Resource Officers (SROs) found that youth of color, specifically Black youth, are suspended at a much higher rate than any other race locally and at the state level. This finding led us to create a space to organize alongside other youth organizations and groups in our city. This coalition has led to the growth of strong relationships, community building and youth power.
Fund Our Futures
Through the Education Justice Coalition, young people have advocated to be included in decision making around how COVID-19 relief dollars will be allocated. Fund our Futures includes advocacy on the school boards, city council and board of supervisors in Merced. Our identified allocation needs include: Rent relief, cops out of campuses, youth employment, and a guaranteed income program for young people impacted by incarceration, foster care or houselessness.
Through a strong partnership with WeCed Youth Media, we have identified the lack of resources for LGBTQIA+ youth and adults in Merced. Merced has been without a LGBTQIA+ center for many years and there is an increasing need for a resource hub. We have seen firsthand the way young people in our city experience homelessness, mental health issues, and many other forms of harassment and violence. Holding these pains in our hands and with a vision of liberation, we have been advocating for these resources. We held various community input meetings and with the allyship of council member Bertha Perez, presented a resolution to council, which would commit the city to allocating $70,000 dollars to start up the LGBTQIA+ center. The resolution passed unanimously and the process of proposals for an LGBTQIA+ Center is in progress.
Covid-19 Stop the Spread-Merced
Through a partnership with Merced County Public Health and Valley Onward, YRF has engaged in a social media campaign as an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city. Our goal is to educate other young people about how COVID-19 works and spreads, to encourage folks to get vaccinated and to support our communities as we continue to experience the impacts of the pandemic. Through this effort we were able to bring a mobile vaccination clinic to south Merced and continue to support ongoing vaccination efforts.
The DY Project (Displaced Youth)
The DY Project was started by the Rise and Lift youth group. The project culminated in creating a documentary film that highlights the experiences of houseless and displaced youth in the City of Merced. Through various screenings and community panels, the DY Project was able to create the DY Relief Fund, which aims to provide young people with immediate support if they lack secure housing.