Organizing Youth & Families
COLEMAN FAMILIES MAKING CHANGE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
YOUTH MAKING A CHANGE: Y-MAC
PARENTS MAKING A CHANGE: P-MAC
STUDENTS MAKING A CHANGE: SMAC
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth is a member-led, multi-racial community organization working to create a city of hope, opportunity, and justice for all children and all families in San Francisco.
We organize San Francisco low and moderate income families – especially Black families and immigrant families of color – to build their own power to improve their lives, their schools, and their communities. With the leadership of our members and the support of thousands of San Francisco voters and residents, we win concrete improvements in the lives of the city’s next generation.
We have a unique “hybrid” model of social change, linking grassroots organizing, leadership development and policy advocacy. We work to win citywide policy change and budget investments, while remaining rooted in the schools and neighborhoods where families are facing the greatest challenges in our city. We believe in parent organizing – where the parents and guardians of public school children make change, in youth organizing, where young people lead their own advocacy campaigns, and in inter-generational organizing, where young people and adults work together to create lasting community change.
Learn more here about Y-MAC, P-MAC, and SMAC.
FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO STAY IN SAN FRANCISCO
Read about our reports on the decline of children in the city:
- Families Struggle To Stay: Why Families are Leaving SF & What Can Be Done
- Is There A Future For Children: An Analysis of Family Income, Race & Opportunity
Surprising Facts about San Francisco Children & Families
- With just over 100,000 kids, SF has the smallest child population of any major US city.
- 75% of San Francisco kids and 90% of SF public school students, are children of color.
- While the official federal poverty rate is only 12%, official poverty exceeds 25% in neighborhoods with the highest concentration of families raising children.
- A disturbing 40% of San Francisco families do not earn enough to pay for their basic needs without public assistance, based on the SF “Self-Sufficiency Index” instead of the outdated federal poverty line. A single parent with two children – one of them in preschool – would need to earn $57,658 or $27.30/hr to pay for her family’s basic needs like housing, childcare, food, and healthcare. More on SF Self Sufficiency standards for families >> here. This is why Coleman advocates for public investments in childcare and housing subsidies, free afterschool programs, universal health care, and job training that puts low income parents on track to real economic security.
- The San Francisco public school district is both the highest performing urban district in California, and the district with the widest racial achievement and opportunity gap between white and Asian children, on one hand, and Black, Latino and Pacific Islander children, on the other.
- In another layer of inequality, nearly one-third of all SF families pay for private education, between $15,000 and $40,000 in tuition, where expectations and support for academic achievement and college-attendance are universal.
- The city has consistently failed to meet its own policy goals for building affordable family housing; more than 15,000 families live in overcrowded, substandard, and near-homeless conditions. Tens of thousands have left the city altogether.
- San Francisco has the highest concentration of billionaires in the United States, and generates enough annual wealth to fully-fund a quality public education system.
Since the year 2000, San Francisco has had the lowest child population of any major city in the nation. Decades of gentrification and increasing housing costs has either pushed or priced tens of thousands of families raising children out of the city. Young, working class people of color growing up in the city today assume that they not be able to afford to live here as adults, and wonder why schools are closing as new luxury housing is built in their neighborhoods. A central goal of Coleman Advocates’ organizing and policy agenda is to put a halt to these disturbing trends. Coleman families are struggling to stay, and asserting the right of working class families and communities to remain in the great city they helped to build.
Working- and middle-class families of all races with deep roots in the city, have been forced to seek their dream of home-ownership and decent public schooling by moving to the outer suburban rings of San Francisco and Oakland. Since 1990, San Francisco has lost fully one-half of all Black families – overwhelmingly working class families whose jobs no longer pay a living wage in this city. In the face of redevelopment and public housing rebuilding projects, low income Black families have been relocated throughout the Bay Area into communities with subsidized housing but few social services and job opportunities. At the same, the pressures of globalization continue to drive thousands of young workes from Mexico and Central America to the city. As upwardly mobile Latinos must leave to find affordable housing in the East Bay, Latino newcomer immigrants struggle for basic survival and opportunities for their children, while living in overcrowded housing and earning less than a living wage, and often less than the legal minimum wage. Coleman Advocates has introduced racial equity into the public debate about the decline of children, noting that white children in the city are actually very well, and are now increasing in numbers. Similarly, while Asian families are numerically the largest group of poor families in the city, there are opportunity structures that allow the vast majority of Asian children to overcome major barriers, do well in public schools and move on to join the middle class.
Coleman Advocates has made a specific commitment to addressing the acute crisis facing African American children and families over the last several years, drawing public attention to the needs of Black young people in the public school system and the lack of good jobs and economic opportunity they face in this city. Through grassroots leadership development of Black parents and students in schools in the Bayview and the Excelsior, and through the public advocacy of Coleman staff, Coleman is seeking to build the leaders and alliances necessary to reverse the trends facing the Black community today.
We are not hopeless. Coleman youth and parent leaders continue to have hope in the midst of crises, continue to stand up for change and win victories year after year that make real improvements in their lives.