"Youth Are the Center of Why We Do What We Do" - A Reflection by Far Pritte, YPC's Founding Youth Executive Director

Far Pritte is YPC’s Founding Youth Executive Director, going as far back as even before we changed our name from #NYCEDU to Youth Power Coalition! Recently we had the chance to connect and thought we ought to share her story. What about you all? What does Youth Power Coalition mean to you?

Far Pritte, March 2021

I come from a low-income background. Seven of us lived in a two bedroom apartment, shootings would happen all the time, and I didn’t have access to the best education, but I didn’t know this was due to how segregated the system was. I thought segregation was over. That’s what I learned in my history class.

Then I attended Youth Power Coalition’s youth-led collective impact gathering and it changed my life. I met youth leaders and started attending their organizations’ meetings. I learned about segregation. I heard the different experiences of other students. I started thinking, “Why is this happening? This isn’t right. This isn’t what the system promised us.”

I also decided to join #NYCEDU’s team. At first I wasn’t really confident, but at #NYCEDU, now Youth Power Coalition, my voice actually matters. In other spaces I’ve been in, adults always dismiss youth voices: “You’re young, you don’t understand, you don’t have the degrees I have,” or, “We like what you’re saying,” but they don’t actually implement our policies. At YPC, we work alongside adults who value us. Youth are the center of why we do what we do. Youth make agendas, facilitate meetings, and write grants. Adults step back and let the youth do the work.

I’ve now had opportunities to share my story at public hearings, PEP (Panel for Educational Policy) meetings, and city council meetings. I organized a student strike for safer school reopenings. I’ve learned skills through hands-on experiences that I can take back to my community to amplify the work. I’m confident enough to go to my teachers, my principal, my chancellor and call out anything that’s wrong. As YPC’s Youth Executive Director, I’m passing on confidence to others. I push other youth leaders, saying “You have the capability to do this. The skills that I have, you can learn them, too.”