Youth United for Community Action

Youth United for Community Action

"Locked out of the legal means of material survival, looked down upon by predatory politicians and police, left with the least relevant educational opportunities, talked at with contempt and not talked to with love-- is there any question why such youth are alienated?... 

They look at the lives they live and see not "civil rights progress", but a drumbeat of civil repression by a state at war with their dreams.

Why the surprise?

This is not the lost generation....

They are the children of the L.A. rebellion, the children of the MOVE bombing, the children of the Black Panthers, and the grandchildren of Malcolm; far from lost, they are probably the most aware generation since Nat Turner's; they are not so much lost as they are mislaid, discarded by this increasingly racist system that undermines their inherent worth. They are all potential revolutionaries, with the historical power to transform our dull realities.

If they are lost, find them." 

Mumia Abu Jamal -- Journalist, Black Panther, Political Prisoner





Tameeka Bennett, Executive Director

Tameeka is an experienced organizer and lifelong East Palo Alto resident. Growing up in EPA gave her a strong sense of self, something she wishes to pass on to the youth she works with today, "People hear EPA and the first thing they do is think of all the negative things associated with who we WERE. EPA has made so many strides! We are a strong community. Filled with beautiful stories of resiliency and hard working families.  My city taught me to never give up, to strive after what I want, go after my dreams. I want to pass all of that goodness onto the youth I work with everyday."  

 Tameeka joined the YUCA family in 2011. She formerly co-coordinated all leadership development activities with our environmental justice and affordable housing campaign.

Tameeka formerly sat on the East Palo Alto Planning Commission. She is a graduate of the 2015 Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (hosted by Urban Habitat). She also sits on a host of Commissions, Committees and Boards geared at making a difference in the areas of climate change, social & environmental justice, affordable housing, youth leadership development and racial justice. 

She is also the co-founder of a non-profit called Rebooting History, a documentary effort to record East Palo Alto history and lift up the stories of those fortunate enough to experience what was once known as Ravenswood High School (East Palo Alto's only Public High School , closed in 1976). 



Cynthia Cruz, Education Program Director

Cynthia Cruz came up through YUCA as a young person in high school working on the campaign to shut Romic down! 

We are thrilled to have her return as our Education Program Director, guiding our Education work!  As a new venture, this campaign is rapidly growing while desiring to affect change through student and parent engagement as well as curriculum.  The Education campaign is making great strides in making young people aware of Common Core Standards, engaging students and parents in bettering our school systems, and talking with teachers and admin about current curriculum. 

Cynthia has been a magnificent addition the the YUCA family! She has carried the heart of the organization with her as she leads YUCA young people through Political Educations, Skill Building sessions and more. She works hard to ensure that our young people are made aware of current social climates, current events as well as their histories as people of color. 

Kyra Brown, Social Justice Program Director

Kyra Brown was raised in East Palo Alto, California. She is a 2006 graduate from Menlo-Atherton High School. A first-generation college student as well as an alumna of College Track, Kyra has a demonstrated commitment to supporting the community of East Palo Alto.  

In 2010, Kyra earned a BA in English Literature, with a minor in Theology from Bethany University, Santa Cruz.  While at Bethany, she served on the Student Government as the Intercultural Representative and led the Student Petition for Diversity Initiatives.  In 2014, Kyra earned a Master's of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Social Justice from Howard University, Washington DC. While at Howard, she served as a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Cain Hope Felder as well as the Student Government Vice President. Under her leadership, the Divinity Student Government Association was named one of Howard University's student organizations of the year.

Her ultimate goal is to work with the oppressed, and advocate for community-restoring justice and equality in both political and ecclesiastical realms--with the intention to impact policy. Kyra is the Social Justice Program Director at Youth United for Community Action (YUCA) and is passionate about teaching young people how to utilize their civic voice.