Wielding the third highest rates of total poverty and children living in poverty in California, Santa Barbara County has responded to massive wealth disparities by criminalizing people of color, particularly Black and Brown youth living in working class environments. As a result, youth that are heavily impacted by the criminal legal system are stripped of access to opportunities in school, the workplace, the mental health arena, and have fewer outlets to acquire fundamental or other vital resources from. The youth at Los Prietos Boys Camp, a youth detention facility in Santa Barbara, sparked the idea to create a youth-led justice magazine called Freedom Philosophies, which has now bloomed into reality. The magazine amplifies the life experiences and humanity of those who are entrenched within or have moved beyond the criminal legal system (primarily those in youth detention and at Santa Barbara County Jail), generates social change through public engagement in calls to action, and empowers its readers with access to opportunities and resources throughout California. Released quarterly, with assistance from student mentors at local colleges and universities, Freedom Philosophies is the creativity, inspiration, and dedication of youth that are system-involved packaged into a physical or digital platform.
Freedom 4 Youth, the only community-based organization in Santa Barbara that curates 100% of its services to youth and adults impacted by the criminal legal system, is asking you to donate in support of Freedom Philosophies to ensure that:
- youth and system-involved individuals are given increased access to resources and community-based support services through collaborative direct service and justice policy driven initiatives
- physical copies can be printed and distributed throughout jails and prison countywide, statewide, and eventually nationwide
- compensation can be provided for those who are dedicating their time through interviews, creating artwork, writing stories, or contributing to the creation of the magazine in other ways
- the public is educated on state-sanctioned systemic or experiential modes of oppression that disproportionately impact people subjected to the criminal legal system and given Calls to Action to generate positive social change, enhancing the sense of community between impacted and non-impacted folks
- the fight for increased access to education, employment, healthcare, civil rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, disabled person’s rights, safety, and housing continues through amplifying the experiences of those most impacted