About Us

Vision, Goals, and Strategy

We are an alliance of change agents committed to improving the life chances of California’s boys and young men of color. The Alliance includes youth, community organizations, foundations, and systems leaders – like education, public health, and law enforcement officials. We are active at the local and state levels, with a particular focus on Oakland, Los Angeles, and Fresno. Our work is supported by a variety of funders.

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Our Vision

All Californians stand to benefit by doing everything possible to ensure that young men of color have the chance to grow up healthy, to get a good education, and to make positive contributions to their communities.

We will reap the rewards of this investment. Boys and young men of color can make our neighborhoods safer and stronger and they can work hard, innovate, and keep California competitive in the global economy. It’s time for California to renew its commitment to making sure that all young people have a fair shot to grow up healthy and successful.

Our Goals

The Alliance is working to ensure that California’s boys and young men of color:

  • Are physically and mentally healthy;
  • Live in safe neighborhoods;
  • Succeed in school and work; and
  • Possess the knowledge, skills, and leadership capacity to contribute to their families, communities, and the state’s social and economic well-being.

Our Strategy

Working at the local and state level, the Alliance is actively pursuing reforms that will:

  • Increase access to health services that recognize the strengths and assets of boys and young men of color while also responding to the trauma and chronic adversity that many face;
  • Achieve 100 percent high-school graduation rates among boys and young men of color by strengthening the performance of public schools and reducing expulsion rates;
  • Ensure boys and young men of color live in safe neighborhoods and can attend safe schools;
  • Reduce the numbers of youth who enter the juvenile justice system and ensure that those who leave the system have the skills needed to succeed; and
  • Increase access to the types of education and training that lead to meaningful employment.

For a complete list of Alliance activities, go to PolicyLink.org.

Questions? Please contact Ruben Lizardo, Deputy Director, ruben@policylink.org

Local Campaigns

With strong participation and leadership of youth, community and system players Alliance partners have launched campaigns in Oakland, Fresno, and Los Angeles. Each of these efforts is anchored by a local convener.


As the regional convener of the Alliance’s work in Oakland, Urban Strategies Council facilitates collaborative efforts between Alameda County and Oakland systems leaders and leading community based organizations. Find out about Urban Strategy Council’s work here. To learn more, contact Junious Williams, CEO, Urban Strategies Council.


PolicyLink, the Building Healthy Communities Program, and the California Endowment jointly facilitate the work of the Fresno County BMoC Task Force that includes community-based organizations, as well as youth and adult residents, law enforcement, education, health system leaders, and faith-based advocates. Find out about the Fresno BMoC Campaign here. To learn more, contact Nathaniel Brown, Program Assistant, PolicyLink.

Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Sons & Brothers Coalition is a partnership between The California Endowment, Liberty Hill Foundation, Los Angeles community-based organizations, parents and students to improve the health and expand opportunities for boys and young men of color. The LA Sons & Brothers Coalition has strategic focus on the following issues:

  • Improving Third Grade Reading by Reducing Chronic Absences
  • Positive School Discipline and Restorative Justice
  • Safety
The LA Sons & Brothers Coalition will accomplish these goals by building the leadership capacity of young men of color to shape policies, systems and norms that impact their communities. If you would like to learn more about the work of the LA Sons & Brothers Coalition please click on the link and/or contact Charles Fields, cfields@calendow.org.

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State Policy Campaign

Campaign to Make Health and Opportunity Happen for Boys and Men of Color


Alliance members worked hard last year to build support for state policy proposals to fix school discipline. This included mobilizing letters of support for the slate of bills school discipline advocates and educators moved through the legislature. The Alliance’s Change.org petition to Governor Brown generated over 10, 000 signatures.

Meanwhile, through partnership with the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color Alliance members provided a platform for more than 2,000 youth, community and system leaders to voice their concerns in the six hearings and six policy working groups that were held across the state. Alliance members’ advice about promising solutions and policy and system reforms on which the state could act were included among the sixty seven recommendations in the Select Committee’s Action Plan.

In November 2012, the Alliance hosted a policy convening with local and state partners to develop plans for a new state policy campaign to build on last year’s success. Aligned with our core policy and system objectives, this spring the Alliance is launching a Campaign to Make Health and Opportunity Happen for Boys and Young Men of Color. The campaign seeks to ensure our most vulnerable boys and young men of color:

  • Attend schools that have the tools and supports needed to keep them in the classroom, ensure they achieve at a highlevel, and graduate ready for college and career;
  • Live in neighborhoods that are safe and provide them with the supports needed to for healthy youth development and economic self-sufficiency;
  • Have access to quality health services that build on their cultural strengths and address exposure to chronic adversity and trauma.
  • Get the opportunity to work, through the removal of barriers to employment and through increased access to career education and training.
Select Comittee

After a year-long series of hearings, in August 2012 the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color released a final report and an ambitious Action Plan with sixty seven recommendations related to health, education, employment, violence prevention and youth development. Read the Select Committee Action Plan here Under the leadership of newly appointed Chair, Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D – 62), the Select Committee will continue to champion the cause of ensuring California’s boys and young men of color are healthy and successful. Select Committee Chair Bradford will use the Committee’s Action Plan as the basis for engaging Committee Members and others in the Legislature.
Contact Select Committee Chair Bradford here.

The Select Committee’s new members as of February 2013 include:

To read the Select Committee Report and action plan, click here.


Materials & Web Cast: 8/8 Public Hearing

Hearing on the Status of Advancing the Committee Priorities and Policies in 2013-2014
August 8, 2013, Sacramento, CA


Included in the Public Hearing Documents (Download PDF) are sections on Education, Youth Development and Youth Policy, Health, Employment and Wealth, and Juvenile Justice and Safety. The documents cite recommendations for each of these issue areas, and notes the specific progress indicators. The documents also cite accomplishments in the 2012-2013 session, including bills pending, suggested follow-up/implementation oversight activities with dates for Regional Input Sessions, as well as a list of organizations engaged in advocacy in support of Select Committee Priorities.


Take Action

2014 Policy Priorities

The Alliance works to secure and implement policies that achieve our policy objectives through statewide legislation, administrative procedures, and the budgetary process to improve the lives of California's boys and young men of color.

You can take important action to support our 2014 priority bills by clicking below:



SB 596 (Co-Author Beall) Multi-tiered Intervention Pilot Program
Establishes pilot program to integrate mental health, special education, and school climate support services in four schools located in low-income neighborhoods.

SB 840 (Lara) Bullying
Increases school safety by improving how bullying and bias-motivated discrimination and harassment are handled in public schools.

SB 1111 (Lara) Involuntary Transfers
Protects due process rights of students involuntarily transferred to county community or community day schools.

SB 1396 (Hancock) School Climate Grants
Establishes Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Program (PBIS), which would create positive cultures in schools, improve school discipline practices, and align with LCFF priorities.

AB 2382 (Bradford) CalWorks/Truancy
Eliminates the truancy double penalty unfairly applied only to California’s poorest families when a child fails to participate in school regularly.

AB 2384 (Bradford)School Site Council
Improves school site councils by increasing community representation, promoting transparency, and ensuring alignment with the LCFF.

AB 2555 (Bocanegra) Cradle to Career Initiative
Mandates the Superintendent of Public Instruction to explore the establishment and expansion of Cradle to Career Initiatives (CCIs) – early childhood, educational, and job training programs that guide children from cradle-to-career.


AB 420 (Dickinson) Willful Defiance (2014)



SB 1055 (Liu) School Based Health Centers
Expands access to health care for students and communities by funding approved school-based health center program.

SB 1005 (Lara) California Health Exchange for All
Expands access to health care coverage for all Californians, regardless of immigration status.

AB 2345 (Gonzales) Public Benefits
Expands access to the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) to all eligible, lawfully present immigrants. 

AB 503 (Wieckowski/Bonta) Community Benefits at Private Nonprofit Hospitals
Creates a standard definition of charity care for private nonprofit hospitals and promotes community benefit spending in underserved and vulnerable communities.

SB 1000 (Monning) Sugar Warning Label
Informs California consumers about the unique and chronic health problems associated with sugar-sweetened beverages by requiring warning labels.

SB 1029 (Hancock) CalFresh
Qualifies people who were formally incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) and CalFresh, provided they comply with release conditions, or have successfully completed probation/parole.

Safety and Justice


SB 970 (Co-Author Leno) Solitary Confinement
Limits the cruel, harmful practice of solitary confinement against youth in the juvenile justice system. 

AB 1629 (Bonta) Victims Compensation Fund
Supports physical and emotional recovery for Californians injured by gun or other violence by extending peer counseling services and reimbursement through the Victims Compensation Fund. 

AB 1756 (Skinner) Sealing of Records
Increases public safety and economic opportunity by eliminating unnecessary administrative fee to seal juvenile records.

SB 1198 (Hancock) Criminal Statistics
Requires reporting of important information about boys and young men whose cases are handled in adult court.

SB 1054 (Steinberg) Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grants
Requires reporting of important information about boys and young men whose cases are handled in adult court.

Jobs & Workforce Training


SB 1384 (Mitchell) Certified nurse assistants
Expands opportunities for qualified, rehabilitated individuals with a prior conviction to become a certified nurse assistant.

AB 2060 (V. Manuel Perez) Post-release Workforce Training
Increases public safety and economic opportunity by allocating Recidivism Reduction Fund resources towards workforce training for the reentry population.

SB 1391 (Hancock) Community Colleges/CTE Courses/ Inmate Education 
Provides educational opportunities and career technical education programs to inmates in an effort to increase job skills and employability upon release from prison.

Alliance Members