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BSS coalition started as an initiative of the California Endowment and the Liberty Hill Foundation in 2011. We wanted to address the disproportionate rates of suspension, expulsion, and harsh school discipline that young men of color were facing in Los Angeles and Long Beach. The BSS coalition formed to address key needs and ignite a movement for boys and young men of color.
The Brothers, Sons, Selves (BSS) coalition is an alliance of nine community-based organizations across Los Angeles and Long Beach. Our mission is to end the criminalization of young bois/boys and men of color by creating and influencing public policy that invests in young people and their future.
Youth Organizing Model
BSS is youth driven space and decision-making is shared among staff and youth leaders.
The Brothers Sons Selves Coalition (BSS) is a strategic alliance of nine community based organizations across Boyle Heights and the Eastside, South Central, Inglewood, and Long Beach, that work to decriminalize youth in communities of color and end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Our organizational partners include InnerCity Struggle, the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, the Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network, the Labor Community Strategy Center, Community Coalition, Brotherhood Crusade, the Youth Justice Coalition, Social Justice Learning Institute, and Khmer Girls in Action.
Roapmap / Timeline
January 1, 2011 - February 2, 2011
LISTENING TO L.A.'S BOYS & YOUNG MEN OF COLOR
Liberty Hill gathers testimony about conditions for Black, Latinx and API males in Los Angeles.
October 1, 2011
BSS COALITION IS BORN
Urgent Need: Liberty Hill and the California Endowment partner with nine grassroots organizations.
November 1, 2011 - January 1, 2012
Focus: Youth leaders identify need for positive alternatives in school discipline.
March 2, 2012
BSS members testify at the L.A. hearing of the recently-formed California Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color.
June 21, 2012
BSS youth meet with staff members of local elected officials to discuss policy issues.
May 14, 2013
BSS WINS SCHOOL CLIMATE BILL OF RIGHTS IN LAUSD
Landmark package of policy changes eliminated racialized “Willful Defiance” suspensions, implemented Restorative Justice, and redefined the roles of school police in LAUSD
October 7, 2013
LONG BEACH WIN
BSS advocates successfully for Long Beach Schools' "Resolution on School Discipline."
November 15, 2013
Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition youth leaders work with state legislators on a hearing panel.
May 14, 2014
WHITE HOUSE LISTENING TOUR
Administration officials working on President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative fact-find in L.A.
May 30, 2014
REACHING OUT TO STUDENTS THROUGHOUT L.A.
Youth leaders from Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition bring together students for political education at Rise Up!
June 25, 2014
President Obama and Assembly member Bass greet youth leaders in South L.A.
August 1, 2014
ANGER AND SORROW
The shootings of Michael Brown and Ezell Ford move Brothers, Sons, Selves youth to rally in South L.A.
November 28, 2014- January 1, 2015
At retreats in November 2014 and January 2015, Brothers, Sons, Selves members grappled with ongoing police violence and a new Black Lives Matter movement.
June 10. 2015
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Youth leaders campaign for $60 Million for more counselors, not school police.
September 12, 2015- September 14, 2015
SAC DAY OF ACTION
Sisterhood Rising & Brothers, Sons, Selves members meet legislators and advocate in the state capitol.
January 9-10, 2016
STRATEGIC PLAN FOR STATEWIDE ACTION
Members of Brother, Sons, Selves participate in strategy sessions to advance implementation of the School Climate Bill of Rights in their schools.
April 5, 2016
MEETING WITH GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN
Youth Leaders hold signs in the senate for the Keep Kids in School Act.
August 3-7, 2016
SONS AND BROTHERS CAMP
BSS Member organizations participated on a regular basis in the statewide Sons and Brothers Camp, an initiative of the California Endowment to bring masculine-identifying youth leaders from across 14 building healthy communities sites to learn, grow, and heal together.
October 6, 2016
BROTHER, SONS, SELVES CO. TOWN HALL
BSS youth plan and host a Town Hall for dialogue and education.
April 4-5, 2017
BSS ADVANCES RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AT LAUSD
Following four years of persistent work and partnership to improve local schools, LAUSD School Board members thank Brothers, Sons, Selves for helping to increase graduation rates and decrease suspensions.
May 11-13, 2017
LEGISLATIVE VISITS AT SACRAMENTO
Youth leaders call for statewide ban on arbitrary suspensions.
June 19, 2017
Brothers, Sons, Selves apply pressure, prompting the LAUSD Board of Education to pass a resolution endorsing the Keep Kids in School Act.
October 11, 2017
COMMUNITY GROUPS TAKE LEAD
After winning several landmark policy changes, training dozens of leaders and building solidarity among youth across L.A. County, the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition is ready to transition to a new phase of community leadership, with Community Coalition, InnerCity Struggle and Khmer Girls in Action at the helm.
Increasing LAUSD’s Restorative Justice Investment to $11 million
BSS secures a unanimous School Board vote to increase the Restorative Justice budget allocation to $10.8 million for the 2017-2018 school year, and $11 million for the 2018-2019 school year.
In 2018 BSS developed a sto capture how safety and justice is experienced by youth of color across multiple contexts. We were committed to grounding our work in data that directly reflects the current experiences of youth in Los Angeles County. The survey questions were finalized at the end of 2018, and the survey was administered from January to June of 2019 by our partner organizations, their youth, and a small civic engagement team. 3,733 total surveys were administered, and N = 3,378 surveys made it into the final analysis. Duplicate and incomplete surveys (20% or less of the survey completed) were removed from our final analysis. We partnered with Dr. Charles Davis at the USC Race and Equity Center to clean our data, and add new data fields. The themes covered in the survey ranged from perceptions of law enforcement, how youth experience criminalization, policing, and incarceration, what youth experience in Los Angeles County and their schools, and the ways that youth want to invest public funds. Those themes formed our campaign pillars and areas of focus.
Passing SB 419
Existing law prohibits a pupil from being suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed a specified act, including, among other acts, disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.
Defunding LAUSD School Police
In June of 2020, BSS and our partner organizations worked in a broad based alliance with organizations such as Students Deserve, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, and others to defund LA Unified’s School Police Force by $25 million, or roughly 35%. Funding from the cut is earmarked to support Black Student achievement.
BSS Public Candidates Forum 2020
For our candidates forum, we had discussed issues of youth justice, youth development, equity in funding, and school climate! The forum featured candidates such as Tanya Ortiz Franklin and Patricia Castellanos, who are both running for the LAUSD Board District 7 Seat, and Holly Mitchell, who was running, and currently resides as LA County District 2 Supervisor.Due to the leadership of youth of color within the coalition, Holly Mitchell elected LA County District 2 Supervisor and Tanya Ortiz Franklin was elected to LAUSD Board District 7.