YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 3

Dear Friends, As an organization founded by and for servant leaders, the YEO Network is committed to supporting YEOs in bringing freedom, fairness, and opportunity to their communities. In order to further improve and focus the policy impact of Network members, we ensure that YEOs use the National Convening and its policy councils as a space to flesh out an annual agenda reflective of the needs of their communities and all Americans. Our 10th anniversary National Convening was the largest in YEO Network history, and it contained diverse voices united in one call – the need to address and end inequity. From institutional racism to the lack of economic opportunity, gendered pay gaps, educational outcomes, health disparities, voter suppression, and biases within our criminal justice system, YEOs are prioritizing the restoration of justice. The YEO Network team is proud to release the 2015 Policy Book, a member-driven endeavor reflective of the YEO community. Using an intentional lens of fighting inequity and restoring justice, we compiled over 65 policies for the 2015 Policy Book, with one in four authored by YEOs. Drafted by members and partners of the Network, the policies and programs highlighted in this year’s book focus on the five issue areas most important to YEOs: Expanding Democracy This plenary opened the 2015 National Convening policy series with a focus on democratic reforms that undergird our entire political system. The discussion examined the national landscape, but focused on challenges and opportunities in cities and states to expand access, empower voters, regulate campaign finance, and create impactful change. Empowering and Educating Communities This year, we focused on approaches to education that support children and families from early childhood through professional life. The panel covered parent and community engagement, as well as issues of equity in opportunity and achievement. YEOs and partners considered alternatives to high-stakes testing, wraparound services, and discipline reforms for improved student outcomes. Building an Inclusive Society The national landscape from the past year has been marred by the realities of inequality and inequity – the brutal boiling points of Ferguson and Baltimore; the persistent poverty of our urban and rural centers in California, Wisconsin, New York, and across the South; and the fatal hate crimes against the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in the Midwest. This is not the “American Way.” This year’s Healthy and Inclusive Society plenary pivoted towards the call to build a truly inclusive society, and sought to address the systemic inequities faced by all of our marginalized communities. 2015 POLICY BOOK INTRO PAGE 3