Building Just Schools


In the early 1990’s, popular media was awash with a narrative that the youth were a “lost generation.” It was as if the crack-cocaine crisis and rise in gang violence had caused adults to give up on young people. Community Coalition rejected this assessment, and instead believed that an investment of resources was needed to build the next generation of leaders.

Community Coalition also broke ground by involving their youth members in advocacy campaigns. The prevailing notion at the time was that high school students were too immature to be interested in social justice issues.  CoCo disproved this pessimistic view, as the organization quickly saw dozens of leaders blossom before their eyes. Our young members became fierce activists, capable of speaking out about the conditions in their schools and neighborhoods.

   Advocacy and Academic Success

Over the last 24 years, Community Coalition’s youth program – South Central Youth Empowered thru Action (SCYEA) – has trained high school students to push for reforms that disrupt  the “school to prison pipeline.” SCYEA  simultaneously helps students reach their full potential, become agents of change, and prepares them for college and success in the 21st century economy.

“ All four of my older siblings developed as leaders and have graduated from College. I just completed my first year at UC Santa Cruz and I know that it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the support of my family and Community Coalition.”

– Siria Diego, Community Coalition Youth Alumni

   Fighting for Better Schools

In the process of empowering young people academically, SCYEA has also won policy victories to help transform South Los Angeles Schools. From securing hundreds of millions for infrastructure improvements, to guaranteeing college preparatory coursework for all students, SCYEA has been on the cutting edge of school reform.

That’s what the Community Coalition probably does better than any organization we know – understanding how to connect grassroots and civic engagement into the halls of power, and how those dynamics result in improved lives for people in the neighborhoods.”

– Dr. Robert Ross, President & CEO, California Endowment