Location: Oakland, CA
Founding: 2006
Founders/leadership: Nicole Lee, co-founder, executive director; Xiomara Castro, co-founder; Sikander Iqbal, deputy director

Urban Peace Movement (UPM) transforms both the culture and conditions that lead to urban violence, focusing on building youth leadership for peace on Oakland’s streets. In addition to movement building, UPM’s youth members work on policy and systems change, healing, and culture change. 

One of UPM’s programs is Leaders In Training, a youth organizing and social justice leadership program for high school-aged youths from neighborhoods directly impacted by high rates of violence and mass incarceration. Leaders In Training members have been involved in a number of local policy issues such as raising Oakland’s minimum wage, defeating a proposed youth curfew policy, pushing to end the treatment of youth as adults in the criminal justice system, and helping pass Prop 57. 

Another youth leadership program is the Determination Black Men’s Group, a collaboration between UPM and the United Roots Center. Determination Black Men’s Group involves cultural healing and social justice circle for transitioning-aged African American young men who are formerly incarcerated or who have been near or involved in street life. These circles serve as an opportunity for community members to come together to address harmful behavior in a process that explores harms and needs, obligations, and necessary engagement. Participants create media and messaging campaigns focused on the health and achievement of young men of color in partnership with the California Endowment’s Boys and Men of Color Initiative. 

Most recently, in partnership with other organizations, UPM is taking action to protect the systems-impacted youth of Alameda County who are disproportionately Black and Brown. This is an opportunity to refocus our juvenile justice (or injustice) system away from incarceration and towards creating opportunities for youth to be cared for and thrive. 

Read more about UPM’s Scratch and Fade event in Oakland, CA on the Move Blog.

Read more about UPM’s history in youth organizing on the Move Blog.