• Maryfer Flores

Future of Tomorrow

Future of Tomorrow (FOT) is a student-led organization primarily dedicated to improving education and creating an environment where all students are provided with the opportunities needed to succeed. FOT is also making an impact on #PoliceFreeSchools, FOT represents youth from all racial and ethnic backgrounds that continue to be targeted by police in and out of our schools. FOT strongly believes in the importance of our youth to know that they deserve to learn in educational environments that don’t resemble a jail or prison. Students deserve to learn in educational environments that are fully equipped with the tools and resources to support their needs.

FOT is taking action by partnering with two coalitions in New York City. One being Dignity in Schools Campaign NYC and the other is the Urban Youth Collaborative. Along with these two coalitions, FOT’s youth leaders and organizers meet with elected officials, hold town halls, and community forums educating others on the experiences of youth in our schools who are lacking services like mental health support, after school programming, curriculum support, or college access but are also schools that are heavily policies with 10+ agents on campuses, multiple officers outside of schools, metal detectors, cameras, and other heavy surveillance equipment. Currently, FOT, DSCNYC, and UYC are pushing to pass state legislation around school climate and disciplinary practices in our schools. The bill is called Solutions, Not Suspensions and if passed, it would eliminate suspensions for K-3rd grade, minimize the inappropriate interactions youth have with SSA’s, and integrate restorative justice in all schools statewide.

Future of Tom. programs include:

  • Restorative Justice (RJ) Youth Leader training program. Where young people are learning the principles and foundational practices of RJ to become circle keepers on behalf of their school communities, with this program,

  • FOT is pushing for more mental health support in classrooms, community buildings, and youth voices.

  • FOT has continued to take action through weekly youth organizing meetings to discuss movements like Black Lives Matter, Defund the NYPD, Criminal Justice reforms all connect to Police Free Schools (PFS).

  • FOT has met with the press and done op-Ed’s of youth experiences with police in schools, and holding press conferences

  • Meeting with city council members to express their concerns to advocate their position.

  • October to November FOT hosted a Youth Know Your Rights training, focused on police accountability organizing.

  • FOT has been incorporating self-care by presenting restorative circles during their meetings to also focus on mental health. In these spaces, students are able to process their trauma from the pandemic and uprisings over the summer in real-time.

The most important part of establishing police-free schools is to make clear to our government, they must invest in students’ livelihood, health by increasing resources. For example, increasing counselors will provide students with access to mental health support, employment, college access, trade schools, etc.

Without Restorative justice practices, there is no community because these practices influence the importance of communication and safe spaces. Students and educators should be aware that the police cannot just violate their rights, instead, everyone should have trusting relationships just as much as every member that enters into a school building. FOT will achieve PFS by reflecting on the youth’s idea of safety.

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