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08/31/2018 | Organizing for Education Justice

Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) Joins CPD Network

CPD is excited to welcome our newest affiliate, Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), to our growing network of grassroots organizations! Founded in November 2017, LIT and its 501(c)(4) sister organization, Leaders Igniting Transformation Action Fund (LIT AF), is an organization led by youth of color, that engages in issue-based and electoral organizing, direct action, advocacy for progressive public policy, and youth leadership development in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. LIT is CPD’s first youth-led affiliate organization.

While LIT is new to the network, CPD has partnered with LIT for the last several months supporting the development and launch of their campaign to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Milwaukee Public Schools and in the adoption of their Youth Power Agenda. Earlier this year, LIT and CPD co-authored a report entitled “From Failure to Freedom: Dismantling Milwaukee’s School-to-Prison Pipeline with the Youth Power Agenda.LIT’s Youth Power Agenda calls for the removal of metal detectors and police officers in schools and more investments for teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, and jobs programs. In March, LIT launched a campaign to drive this vision. The campaign comes as Milwaukee Public Schools moves to implement a resolution agreement from the U.S. Department of Education’s (“DOE”) Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) which mandated a reform of MPS’ School Discipline Code, following an OCR investigation which revealed stark racial disparities and discrimination in discipline practices.

In less than six months, LIT and LIT AF have already secured a number of significant victories. In March, after the launch of a petition that generated over a thousand emails to the school board and a press conference outside the school board meeting, the district agreed to hold six public meetings on the DOE agreement where there was no previous plans for community (and youth) engagement before. Then in June, LIT defeated a dangerous Milwaukee Public Schools' discipline policy proposal that would have further entrenched the school-to-prison pipeline and put undocumented students at severe risk. In July, they launched “Black Hogwarts,” an immersive six-week workshop that teaches young people ages 12 to 20 about oppression, politics, civic engagement and community organizing. And in August, LIT’s sister c4, LIT AF, wrapped up an impressive electoral engagement program that resulted in more than 6,500 doors knocked, 5,000 voter pledge cards signed, and 100,000 people engaged through social media. This is just a sample of some of their amazing work.

On campuses and in their communities, LIT/LIT AF organizes young people to build independent political power for social, racial and economic justice and transformation; towards a future where every young person has the freedom to thrive. CPD looks forward to supporting LIT in achieving that vision. You can follow LIT/LIT AF on Twitter, Facebook, and on their website. Please join us in welcoming LIT to the CPD Network!