We are the Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League (ROYAL). We began as a group of BIPOC students at Julian Middle School in the Fall of 2018 as the Social Justice Club (SJC) and today the space we created continues to provide a powerful and inspiring learning environment for organizing in schools and community. We have been working to make OP more equitable and inclusive and we’ve grown as individuals and leaders in the process. Our fundamental conviction to an abolitionist framework shapes every action ROYAL takes.
Our space is guided by multiple frameworks, centered in 1.) liberation, 2.) healing, and 3.) collective self-determination. We manifest space for healing from the racial trauma we experience at interpersonal and institutional levels. We believe that taking action is a powerful way to regain agency and heal from oppression. Our organization ensures that our voice is centered and that issues that affect us are at the forefront.
Our next goal is to create a podcast where we can
For an idea of the costs of operations, here are a few of the costs which we are always seeking to cover to continue operating. To give you an idea of what we are working up against, whereas the Oak Park Police receive 39.6% of the village budget, Youth Development measures receive a mere 1.8% of all funds.
ROYAL Costs Breakdown/ Budget:
$1,000 -Mentors/Advisors Stipend
$2,500 - Youth Stipends
$2,500 -Budget for materials, snacks, and guest trainers
Never heard of ROYAL? Check the links below to see more about our presence in the community.
*From the Freedom To Thrive Report (FTT is a coalition of lawyers, data scientists, engineers, artists, parents, and activists who examine Oak Park’s policing practices and are using this insight to redefine community safety in Oak Park)
--> “Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the organizing work of the youth-led group ROYAL: The Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League. ROYAL’s critical organizing work in Oak Park serves as the moral compass for Freedom to Thrive Oak Park’s research and advocacy work. It is for the ROYAL youth organizers and for all of the young people of color in our community that we, as adult allies, are committed to continuing this work.”
-This report was published in early 2020 but did not receive substantial traction until after May 25th 2020, when George Floyd was murdered by police which sparked greater outcry and concern.
*Per the Wednesday Journal:
--> Despite negative press attention which frames our initiatives as radical and lawless, the intentional work we have dedicated ourselves to in the Oak Park community is irrefutable.
-The Wednesday Journal wrote to note the importance in “the work that ROYAL did before last week's protest, which included hosting multiple demonstrations, writing letters and making public comments during board meetings.”