BYP100 is 100 young black activists from across the country convened by the Black Youth Project to mobilize communities of color beyond electoral politics. The group was at Princeton for a convening of the BYP 100 leadership when on their ride back to the hotel they were stopped by the police. What transpires is an interesting moment when black youth are able to talk directly to the police about the problematic criminalization of black youth and the possibility of transformative justice. They filmed the encounter with their cell phones and posted it on the BYP website and YouTube. The piece attracted more than 130,000 views.
The Black Youth Project engaged in an act of participatory politics that mobilized 47,000 people to sign a change.org petition, President Obama: Make a Speech in Chicago Addressing the Crisis of Gun Violence, asking President Obama in the wake of the shooting death of 15 year old Hadiya Pendleton to address the gun violence crisis in Chicago. Hadiya Pendleton was shot in the back while hanging out with friends at Harsh Park in the South Side of Chicago, not long after returning from performing at the President's Inauguration. She was the 42nd shooting victim in the most violent January in more than a decade.
The nation's horrified attention turned to the Sandyhook Elementary School shooting in mid-December 2012 when 20 elementary school children and 7 adults were killed. What was not national news were the 243 young people under the age of 25 killed in Chicago in 2012, an 11% increase over 2011 and a 26% increase over 2010. The Black Youth Project changed that within the span of a week and a half and on February 15 President Obama came to Chicago to address issues of gun violence and lack of economic opportunity to an audience of students, families and public officials at Hyde Park Academy.