Meet the Beneficiary- Young Women's Freedom Center
WRITTEN BY: Elan Lieber
As a Certiﬁed Beneﬁt Corporation, Equator is committed to use business as a force for good. Each bundle will contain an exclusively designed 12oz box of coﬀee, a 12oz MiiR tumbler, and a letterpress print. For every bundle sold, $10 will donated to The Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC), an organization which has been lifting the voices of young women and helping them build collective power to transform their communities for over 25 years.
Devorah Freudiger, Equator’s Director of Coﬀee Culture, states that "B'cause blend is our go to fundraising blend and we've historically used it to support causes and nonprofits both locally and internationally. With the re-launch of B'cause blend as a limited edition artist series we are expanding our impact. We are honored to partner with George McCalman to highlight and support the work of the Young Women's Freedom Center.
This new bundle is a beautiful concept and supports an incredible cause." The work that The Young Women's Freedom Center does to uplift young women speaks to the heart of what is possible. YWFC believes these women, who face systemic inequities, can and should be future leaders and supports them in ﬁnding their path. They are facing unjust systems head on and creating change.
After the launch of Equator's B’Cause bundle we sat down with the beneficiary Young Women’s Freedom Center, to learn more about this organization and the work they do in our community.
EQ: What are the origins of YWFC?
YWFC: The Young Women’s Freedom Center started in the streets with a vision to support young women and girls living and surviving on the streets, and who had been impacted by incarceration, foster care, violence, and poverty. In 1992, a report came out on findings and recommendations on the needs of women and girls in the justice system. In response, the Street Survival Project was founded and later incorporated into the Center for Young Women’s Development - now Young Women’s Freedom Center. From the beginning, we have prioritized and upheld the leadership of those most impacted by oppressive systems.
EQ: Tell us about the mission of YWFC?
YWFC: The Young Women’s Freedom Center was founded in 1993 to empower and inspire cis and trans young women, trans young men, and gender-expansive young people who have been disproportionately impacted by incarceration, racist and sexist policies, the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and/or the underground street economy, to create positive change in their lives and communities.
YWFC meets people where they are at: on the streets, in jails and detention centers, and in the neighborhoods and communities where we/they live. We create economic and leadership opportunities through internships, employment, and engagement in advocacy and organizing. Together, we build our personal and collective power, heal from trauma, advocate on behalf of ourselves and each other, and gain access to education and work to transform the conditions, systems, and policies that lead to intergenerational cycles of violence, incarceration, and poverty.
EQ: YWFC has been in the community since 1993, how has the mission grown and evolved? What do you see for the next generation that looks to make an impact?
YWFC: We have grown so much since the Center was founded in 1993 to support young people working the streets of San Francisco, and now we have sites in 4 different counties. We continue to foster the leadership of young people in our site-based programs, and we also have a statewide policy team that is moving legislation that will help our folks be more free!
We are building with young people who have been impacted by systems because we believe that they will lead us to a freer future.
EQ: Tell us more about Freedom 2030?
YWFC: Freedom 2030 is a ten-year political organizing, culture change, and legislative campaign with the goal of ending the criminalization and incarceration of cis and trans women, young women, and girls, trans men, young men, and boys, and gender-expansive youth and adults in California.
EQ: We recently read the “Through Their Eyes” report, wow. Learning about the experiences of fifty-one system-impacted cis and trans young women and girls, trans young men and boys and gender-expansive youth was eye opening? What goes into putting these reports together? What do you hope people take away from this?
YWFC: We engage in participatory research, so a significant amount of time was spent training young people to carry out the research. We have the first cohort of 5 youth who designed the research project from March 2017 - August 2018. We conducted 100 one-hour life course interviews. Then in the fall of 2019, we trained a new cohort of youth to carry out the data analysis for the report.
In terms of the production, we spent a very large part of 2020 writing the report, researching, and editing.
We hope that people reading this report are able to have a better understanding of the very real experiences of young people targeted by oppressive systems, and take action to support the demands that young people lifted up in this report.
EQ: Tell us more about what YWFC does? How can people get involved?
YWFC: We work with cis and trans women, young women, and girls, trans men, young men, and boys, and gender-expansive youth and adults who have been impacted by systems, in order to support building their power and leadership, because we believe that they are the best positioned to lead us towards our ultimate goal of freedom.
There are many ways to get involved. Help us spread the word - Talk about the work we’re doing in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County. Invest in our work - Donate now to support our work! Connect us to your network - Introduce us to someone who could help advance our work in CA!
EQ: What does “Giving Feels Good” mean to YWFC?
YWFC: Giving Feels Good means that it feels good to redistribute resources, and to support young people thrive!
EQ: Favorite Coffee?
YWFC: B’Cause Blend, this was an easy one!
EQ: How would you like YWFC to be remembered?
YWFC: The legacy of YWFC is supporting the most marginalized young people to thrive in a country that would rather see them locked up. We want to be remembered for contributing to the liberation of cis and trans women, young women, and girls, trans men, young men, and boys, and gender-expansive youth and adults.