About Us

Our Turn mobilizes, amplifies and elevates the voices of students in the fight for education equity.

Our Turn is a revolutionary, youth-led movement dismantling oppressive structures that limit access to quality education. We activate young people of color and allies to ignite change and catalyze a national movement to heal and liberate current and future generations of students.

The Challenge

Closing the Opportunity Gap

Quality education is a requirement for upward mobility, and public schools can and should work for everyone. Students of color and low-income communities should have access to the same in-school and extracurricular opportunities as their wealthier peers.

But educational inequity is systematically stopping students from achieving their full potential. When we fight for underserved public schools, we fight for diversity and equitable access to opportunity.

  • Nationally, White students are 1.8 times as likely as Black students to be in an Advanced Placement class.
  • Nationally, Black students are 3.9 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers. Hispanic students are 1.3 times more likely to be suspended.
  • People of color make up more than 50% of public school students, but fewer than 20 percent of teachers. That lack of teacher diversity leads to lower high school graduation and college entry rates among students of color.

Centering Student Voices

Student voices have been absent from the dialogue, debates, and decision-making around education equity, and in many cases, have been silenced or ignored.

We need to further invest in young people as the changemakers of today and system changers of tomorrow. They deserve decision-making authority along with school board officials, funders, and administrators to shape education and the school environment in which they exist.

Across the nation, youth activism has emerged as the essential ingredient for social change. As young people take their seat at the table, they elevate their identity, cultural background, and power to speak up for marginalized communities that have been silenced for too long.

It's our turn to be heard.

Ashley Salazar

It's our turn for our voices to be valued.

Amelia Federico

It’s our turn to unite, build, and bridge for the next generation.

Alan Antonio

Our Approach

Betting on Young People

The issues within our nation’s public schools are solvable. However, school board officials, funders, and administrators are missing a key piece of the puzzle: students.

Our Turn trains young people on organizing and advocacy to amplify their voices.

Through our organizing campaigns, leadership development, youth consultancy and national voice, young people channel their power to spark a new movement for justice.

Valuing Lived Experience

Our Turn members are predominantly students of color and many are first-generation college students. Young people who have recently graduated from high school or currently attend low-performing schools are the best change agents for solving the education crisis in America. They’ve directly experienced the opportunity gap, and their audacity and compassion compels them to close that gap for good.

Each of our members has a unique form of power, and together they form a collective voice. As our campaign wins increase, the public follows the lead of young people to create real, lasting change.

Building Broad Coalitions

The generational problem of educational inequity won’t be solved alone. We partner with a diverse array of organizations and people, from teachers to community leaders to elected officials and administrators.

We also know that education is not in a silo and partnerships expand our impact on social justice issues including: immigration reform, mental health, economics, police relations, and more. We’re honored to sit at the intersection of youth-driven movements, both as a leader and supporter of history-making efforts for social justice.

Our Student Agenda

To learn more about Our Turn’s framework to progress equity in education, see the Our Turn Student Agenda for Educational Justice.

Student Agenda

"Centuries and decades later I stand before you urging [you] to address the direct results of generational trauma that the education system has implicated in hundreds and thousands of students of color as our roots and identities have largely been neglected all across the nation."
Salma P.

“My hope for [our] schools is that they will one day be a place where any student; no matter their background or zip code, will be able to go to receive a quality education that will not only prepare them for life after high school, but will make them competitive for whatever path they choose to pursue.”
Alan A.

Our Impact

Our Turn’s youth leaders are advancing equity in education systems in cities across the country. Many young people are stepping into their political agency for the first time, channeling their experiences of injustice in schools into leadership that drives change.

Together, we’ve launched and won issue and electoral campaigns, galvanizing a collective voice of young people to advance comprehensive solutions for long-term change.

Hover to see examples of our impact.

Our Turn was on the front lines advocating for the effective implementation of American Rescue Plan funds. In an unprecedented step, the federal DOE required student input from all 50 states for ESSERII funds, totaling $54.3B - a major milestone in bringing "Nothing About Us, Without Us" to life.

2022 Annual Impact Report

As students rose up boldly and unapologetically to demand education justice in the wake of COVID-19, we followed their lead. We engaged in a unique year of (re)visioning—and doubling down on our model. We asked ourselves hard questions, and we saw some real progress.

2021 Annual Impact Report

In 2021 we fearlessly, shamelessly, and boldly stood up and fought for what is right: education justice. We launched a national campaign to have our youth-authored Student Agenda recognized by the Department of Education, resulting in student engagement that would ultimately influence hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from the American Rescue Plan.

COVID-19 Student Impact Report

We conducted a survey of young people in April 2020 to understand how COVID-19 is impacting them and their educational experiences.

The LA Student Standard: A Collective Resistance

Schools are no exception to the long-standing impact of institutional racism in our country. White supremacy is in our textbooks, discipline practices, funding formulas, lower expectations, etc. Now is the time for LA Unified to lead the way in creating equitable and just school systems.

Media & Press

View Our Turn’s press releases and media mentions, from the voices of students and more. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].

Media & Press

“My hometown has one of the lowest graduation rates, highest crime rates, and highest rates of poverty ; but it is my home. I refuse to wait around for someone else to take action.”

Desiree Martinez, Our Turn