Organizing Unit


Advancing Our Mission

The Organizing Unit is the primary way PSE builds the civic bench for advancing racial equity. This unit is comprised of issue area organizers, youth leaders, and our education and leadership development team that designs curriculum and custom offerings to advance the mission of PSE. The Organizing Unit serves as a critical anchor within the organization as we deepen racial equity work and build movements that liberate communities from oppressive systems.

Meet Our Team

John Roberts, Jr.
John Roberts, Jr.

YES! for Equity Manager

Jabari Brooks
Jabari Brooks

YES! for Equity Consultant

Colette Haywood
Colette Haywood


YES! for Equity

Building Youth-Led Movements

Young people under the age of 18 make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population, yet their potential as a generation to contribute to a better society is systematically ignored. Young people have been excluded from the development of policies, systems and environments, designed by adults to benefit them. As an age cohort, youth are rarely involved in governance and decision-making processes, due to economic, political, and procedural barriers that prevent their participation.

As a result, youth experience marginalization due to their membership to undervalued demographic groups, including: Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+, persons with disabilities, refugee, migrant, and economically disadvantaged. This marginalization fueled by white supremacy and adultism, not only infringes upon the overall well-being, rights and agency of young people, but also has negative effects on the communities and societies in which they live.

Our nation is suffering economically, creatively, and civilly as a result.

However, there is a clear solution, YES! for Equity.

A Clear Solution

YES! for Equity is a national training and movement-building force built on the belief that racial equity and inter-generational power-sharing are essential to creating community change. Founded in January 2008, as Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), YES! developed the nationally recognized YES! Youth Empowerment Model® (The Model) for social change. YES! for Equity applies The Model to support the development of youth as civic leaders and to support adults and organizations to change harmful policies and practices that negatively affect youth. Through The Model, youth and adults gain the knowledge, skills and opportunities to name, analyze, and dismantle structural racism and adultism, which perpetuates systems of oppression.

YES! for Equity believes that our collective power as youth and adult allies to achieve the change we seek in the world depends on recognizing the history of structural racism that exists in the United States. We embrace the responsibility to work toward organizational and societal change in service to creating more equitable, thriving communities for all.

YES! for Equity Model

Since YES! inception, YES! has trained more than 20,000 youth and adults to apply The Model to further equitable policies.

Between 2011 and 2018, YES! alongside our partners have helped to change 230 systems, policies and environments, across more than 24 states, impacting and benefiting over 28,286,306 people.

The Model

Skill Development: The process of strengthening skills and increasing knowledge to improve equitable decision- making, authentic peer and community engagement, and community change through advocacy and activism.

Critical Awareness: The ability to identify, analyze, and share information and resources in order to center the lived experiences of historically marginalized youth, change the narrative, and have a deeper understanding of the “how” and “why” of racial equity, youth empowerment, and community change.

Opportunities: The actions taken to achieve sustainable community change through the lens of racial equity and youth empowerment.

Building on previous success in Georgia and North Carolina, The YES! Model was developed specifically to engage youth as civic leaders to advocate for local and state-level policies to address teen tobacco use in North Carolina and the south. YES! Youth staff led local advocacy efforts within their own school districts and then trained their peers on advocacy strategies to enact tobacco-free school policies. YES! Youth staff and Youth Leaders trained by YES! met with school personnel, local school board members, policymakers and business owners to advocate for additional local and statewide tobacco-free policies. Nationally, the Model has since been applied to issue areas from environmental justice to access to health care to achieve policy, system and environmental change.