PARTI Program is a Visit.org partner nonprofit that began in 1999, when 3 African American high school students in San Jose, California, approached founder Winston Ashby to assist them in recruiting their peers to generate support for a project that would address violence in their school and community. What started as informal activities for African American youth centered on music, stepping, and an annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has evolved to become a multi-city anti-bullying and stop-the-violence campaign.
We spoke to Winston Ashby about how his organization is observing Black History Month this year, and how you and your company can get involved.
How would you describe PARTI Program and how it impacts the Black community?
Opportunities for youth. A platform for African-American voices. Unwavering support for allies. These are the tenets of PARTI Program, an innovative organization reaching over 50,000 high-risk, impacted, and intentional youth in Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and Los Angeles County since its inception. With a focus on youth development, connection to caring adults, and prevention for high school students, PARTI program works to eliminate bullying and violence by addressing principles that are lacking in our current school system: represented leadership among African-American students, effective tools to organize and lead change, and practice and training that focuses on real-world issues of unrest.
Is your org commemorating Black History Month this year, if so, how?
During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising racial tensions throughout the country, our African-American youth and allies need PARTI Program’s support more than ever. During Black History Month, PARTI will work smart to engage all youth of color with the opportunity to have voice in every community in the Bay Area by building cross generation and cultural relationships. Right after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Of Service, we launched a inclusion campaign to create a Civics Youth Action Council that will provide youth a platform to introduce policy and service that will transform lives in communities and neighborhoods who have been traditionally disenfranchised because of racist practices and funding decisions.
How can the public get involved with your work? How can corporations make an impact in particular?
In 2021, PARTI Program’s call to action are to:
Support 5,000 youth in service by empowering youth to create, build, and lead 70 youth organized service projects and/or events;
Partner with professionals who are in diversity and inclusion positions and affinity groups in small and major companies in Silicon Valley and the world to engage in meaningful conversations with their peers and youth to create a pathway for the next generation of corporate leaders to be mindful and action driven to celebrate cultures in companies who serve our communities with an unbiased lens that recognizes diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and racial equity;
Winston Ashby and PARTI Program youth.
Take action to support traditionally low income communities and communities in trauma (such as the African Americans and Latin Americans) to feel safe from violence, bullying, and financial oppression.
Opportunities to volunteer with us consist of:
Host a Youth Led Volunteer Project
Donate resources to a Youth Led Volunteer Project
Volunteer at a youth led event virtually – hosted by PARTI
Be a Speaker at one of our Diversity and Equity Networking events
In addition to being involved with your organization, what are some other ways people can observe Black History Month and support the Black community this year?
Attend an event or activity virtually/ or in person, that are hosted and organized by African American Organizations in February.
Patronize a African American business or product.
Help create awareness about an African organization, person, or youth that is doing remarkable work in your community or work place.
Donate African American literature to schools and community centers so that all youth can have access to them.
Photos courtesy of Winston Ashby
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