The Quakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.
Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to the San Jose NAACP Youth Chapter.
The San Jose NAACP Youth Chapter has been planning an informative youth cookout that will feature guest speakers, and discuss social justice issues as well as physical and mental health topics. With this event, they are hoping to raise more awareness for their cause. The event was planned to take place in Ed Levin Park in Milpitas, but the date of the cookout has been postponed due to COVID-19.
Despite the rescheduling of the event, the Quakes Foundation was able to talk with a few of the Youth Chapter members and event organizers, Kyle Dacallos, Christine Bui and Jazelle Rios, to hear more about their organization and ongoing plans.
QF: Tell us more about the San Jose NAACP Youth Chapter.
Christine: “The movement is like an umbrella, covering many topics like police brutality, mistreatment of people of color, economic inequality, health inequality, and changes to the criminal justice system. We want to continue the momentum based on recent events... We want to help educate other youth and community members.”
Kyle: “We have a total of about 36 [members] right now. Back in 2016, it took us three years to get at least seven people. We’re smarter now- we’ve gotten better at mobilizing it. A lot of people join, but don’t understand how difficult and mentally draining the work can be. It takes a lot of work out of you!”
Jazelle: “We want to promote the NAACP Youth Chapter, and raise awareness for current events. We wanted to host an event where we could promote the NAACP, current issues, and how we plan to tackle them.”
QF: Tell us more about why you feel led to work with the younger community.
Kyle: “It started for me from experiences. Everything from not living in a too well-off family, to analyzing experiences of racism to discrimination, those were the key things that put that fire in me… I took ethnic studies, which I feel was the most empowering factor. I educated myself on a lot of political ideas, political revolutionaries, books, documentaries, etc. … The biggest thing that you must learn first, especially as a youth, is to become educated in consciousness. Otherwise, how can you lead a movement if you don't know what you believe in?”
Jazelle: "I think what is important about this youth chapter is that there are so many kids in our community that have no outlet… The NAACP youth chapter gives them a positive outlet. I think it's important for them to feel empowered and to realize, “I can make a change in my community, and I can have a positive impact regardless of what other people are telling me, I'm going to stand up for what I believe in and do what's right."
Christine: “What has inspired me to take the next step and get involved in this organization, is that I want to educate myself enough so I can help others understand. For the people around me, I want them to see the light.”
QF: How can people support the cause and get involved?
Kyle: “Our needs as of right now, to those who have youth or know youth, please send them our way because we are stronger in numbers. Also since we are reactivating as a chapter, fundraising money is important to us. If there's any opportunities that any organizations or any business can offer us, feel free to contact us. Other than that, full support of what we do as a chapter in terms of attending events, connecting with us, and doing what we can all together.”
Jazelle: “I think having something organized and having plans is really helpful for people who have never been a part of such a big movement. Connecting with your community is really important, especially now.”
Kyle: “I feel like it’s a long process to find your place in a movement. For the youth reading this, remember, this is our struggle for liberation, education, consciousness... There's a lot of things going on. Remember to do your research about things, because one person's struggle is everyone's struggle.”
Check out their website to get updates on a rescheduled cookout date, or find more information on other upcoming events. To get connected with the San Jose NAACP Youth Chapter, follow them on Instagram at @naacpyouthsj.