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What A Year For Xochtil Larios
In 2018, we watched a true leader emerge from CURYJ with a long list of accomplishments. She challenged herself to grow by taking on every opportunity she was given. In fact, she was one of 15 young people chosen from a pool of 300 nominees for The California Endowment Youth Awards.Less than one month later she was sworn in as Alameda County’s 1st Youth Juvenile Justice Commissioner!
Even during her busy school and work schedule, she also finds time to do research as a Dream Beyond Bars Fellow. The Fellows are all formerly incarcerated young leaders who through their lived experiences were selected to investigate the impacts of the juvenile system in Alameda County. The research findings highlight the harm of being incarcerated as a young person and the strong need for healing centered alternatives to incarceration.
That’s not all, she also helped advocate and uplift her story around the landmark passing of SB 1421 – The Right to Know Bill – in conjunction with work done by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter California, California Faculty Association, California News Publishers Association, PICO California, PolicyLink, and Youth Justice Coalition LA.
Xochtil is also a powerful youth facilitator, and has helped plan and lead our 1st ever Femme Circles, as well as our H4J 2018 summer cohort. In addition to that, we have watched her grow her leadership skills through a national Peer-to-Peer and Communication’s Fellowship both of which she credits as strengthening her public speaking skills.
We share these accomplishments because there are many other Xochtil’s out there that need the opportunity to step into their power. Your support of our work will make a profound difference in a young person’s life.
The Growth Of A Young Leader
By Xochtil Larios, CURYJ’s Youth Program Associate
This is a piece I did for Hayward High School’s Puente program. During this time in my life I would get kicked out of school for not having outstanding grades in the rest of my classes. It was 2013, and I was 13 years-old.
Purpose is the reason you want to be here! I ask why people, places, or things belong. My specific purpose in this shady ass life is to never change and always stay the same, do everything I can to be happy, but mainly to be me. In my life I want to be somebody better, maybe a brain surgeon, or a nurse, but at the very least following through on things. Why can’t I believe in myself? How do I defy my passions, wishes, and dreams? I just got to keep it moving and grooving, and reducing bad choices. If I make these positive changes could I have a million dollars waiting to be touched by me? Maybe it’s not about the money, maybe I can change young adults way of thinking, because I wanna be remembered as somebody with purpose.
CURYJ is at the forefront of the movement to prevent violence through indigenous healing practices and criminal justice policy reform. To sustain this work we need to expand our programming, and to do so requires funding. Our staff is directly impacted by the prison system, and CURYJ provides employment to individuals who often have few other job opportunities. Your investment in CURYJ and these young leaders will provide positive alternatives to incarceration for them and the communities they regularly serve.