IntegrateNYC Peer Defense Project

AwesomeNYC is excited to support Integrate NYC’s new Peer Defense project. IntegrateNYC is a policy advocacy organization that empowers and centers affected youth voices at the heart of their mission and operations. Started in the Bronx, Integrate NYC has spent the past 5 years working with NYC students to help them advocate for their needs. In 2019 the NYC Department of Education endorsed IntegrateNYC’s platform as the most advantageous tool to resolve NYC Schools Systems’s extreme inequity.

In a new initiative, they are now training youth in New York City to become Youth Peer Observers. These observers will take part in a Know Your Rights virtual training workshop that will teach them about what they are legally entitled to in their schools by federal, state and city law. Once trained the Peer Observers will legally observe their school environments for violations and to be able to report these through the programs website. Once reported, Integrate NYC will reach out with resources to help fill needs not being met in schools and will gather more information to help compile lawsuits.

With the help of the Awesome Foundation grant, Integrate NYC is rolling out their pilot curriculum. Starting on the 30th of October, students will complete the “Know Your Rights” training, start journaling their school experiences and meet with peers, policy makers and lawyers to reclaim and expand their rights.

The program aims to train 3125 youth legal observers in the next 6 months and to scale this up to over 33,00 by next year. With the COVID pandemic impacting students' education in an uncertain political climate, we can't imagine a more awesome time to empower the city's youth to advocate for their rights and themselves!

Funded by New York City, NY (October 2020)