[Forward by Sylvie Lerner, Developed by PV Block Captains, a coalition of Denver's Northeast Youth Leaders]
Historical context refers to the mood, conditions and attitudes of a time period. We often understand the significance of historical context as the way in which we move forward while being informed by our past. In our current political climate, we boast about our understanding of historical context and our knowledge of where we’ve been as a people. Simultaneously folks are making decisions that seem to be in direct opposition to a deep analysis of past moments of terror, and how such moments may shape and reappear in our future. It is crucially important as those who consider themselves to be part of the global movement against oppression to have a historical context for movement building and resistance struggles. In understanding moments of power and groups who organized themselves in a collective way, it is vital for us to read the literature that defines such groups. Some of the movements most inspirational to our work as young people are: the Black Panther Party, the Chicano Movement, L@s Zapatistas, and SNCC. Many of these movements defined themselves through their personal works like the Black Pather’s Ten- Point Program, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, and La sexta (Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle). In the spirit of understanding our historical context, we create our own, living, breathing declaration of our principles and our demands.
"We the youth of Northeast Denver are here to liberate ourselves, our education and our communities to decolonize our minds."
We DEMAND an equitable education that reflects our cultural heritage.
We DEMAND clean water.
We DEMAND healthy food options, not fast food chains.
We DEMAND a path to affordable home and land ownership.
We DEMAND safety from all threats.
We have the right to build communal solidarity.
We DEMAND community-driven decisions.
We DEMAND communal, cultural celebrations in safe spaces.