Check Your Head: the Youth Global Education Network
Check Your Head (CYH) is a youth-driven non-profit organization striving to centre multiply-marginalized youth (ages 15-25) and amplify their leadership within the intersecting movements for social, economic and climate justice. We facilitate community-informed collaborations and partnerships, supporting organizers to access the resources/advocacy they need to sustain the grassroots efforts they’re leading with and for their communities.
Check Your Head was founded in 1999. Today, we are located at 2455 Fraser Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, on the stolen homelands of xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples. We are committed to disrupting all systems of oppression and being in solidarity with Indigenous Sovereignties on their own terms.
Youth are leading and active in the intersecting social, economic and climate justice movements.
Our mission is to activate, engage and support young people in social, climate and economic justice movements in order to work towards more equitable, sustainable and liberation-oriented realities and futures.
OUR VALUE FRAMEWORK
We strive to learn and grow through our work, approaching our youth engagement and education through an Anti-Oppression framework. We facilitate the examination of institutional structures and cultural narratives that reinforce and maintain power imbalances at all levels. We aim to take an intersectional approach to our work, examining how power impacts and intersects with race, abilities, gender, sexuality, class, citizenship status, and ongoing colonialism in our lived experiences, relationships, communities, environments and societies.
We recognize that ‘Anti-Oppression’ is a broad framework that is inclusive of diverse perspectives, values, and principles. We strive to centre the voices, experiences and leadership of directly-impacted communities who bear the brunt of systemic inequities and state violence. We work in solidarity with individuals, organizations, collectives and communities striving for climate, social and economic justice.
We thank our partners and allies (listed below), for allowing us to use their wisdom and helping us define these principles in relation to our work.
- Accessible: We strive to be accessible in our work by meeting the access needs of community members, removing or reducing barriers to services and opportunities, and promoting equity, dignity, and respect. (1)
- Intersectional: We strive to be intentional in understanding and highlighting that inequities are never the result of single, distinct factors. Rather, they result from the intersections of different social locations, power relations and structures. We also acknowledge that the framework of intersectionality as per Kimberlé Crenshaw’s efforts was developed by, and continues to be amplified through, the experiences, insights and labour of Black women as well as Black folx of marginalized genders. (2)
- Peer-Based: We work to create groups where leadership is a shared responsibility and all members are valued, with emphasis on equity. Group members are the decision-makers and they work together to provide direction. (3)
- Youth-Driven: We work to build a workplace, organization and opportunities where youth lead planning, decision-making, facilitation, reflection, and evaluation on issues that matter to them, using actions and methods of their choice. (4)
- Action-Oriented: We are committed to bridging knowledge with consistent and conscious actions that work towards systemic change. (5)
- Popular Education-Based: We strive to facilitate learning opportunities where youth educate one another, acknowledge power and hierarchy, and organize together for social change. (6)
1. Adapted from SPARC BC’s “Making Space for Everyone” / 2. Adapted from The Institute for Intersectionality Research & Policy, SFU “Intersectionality 101” / 3. Adapted from Peernet BC “About Us” 4. Adapted from the Freechild Project “Youth Action Project “/ 5. Adapted from The Centre for Story Based Strategy “Anti-Oppression Principles” / 6. Adapted from the Girls Action Foundation “What is Popular Education”