Our Mission & Vision
Step Up New London is a parent-led community based organization established to strengthen leaders for justice and equity. We work to organize and raise the political consciousness, voice and power of people to effectively unite with each-other and increase our ability to engage in social and political change for the betterment of ALL people in our community.
Step Up New London emerged out of the parent-led, all-volunteer advocacy group New London Parent Advocates (NLPA), founded in 2012. NLPA led active, sustained educational advocacy efforts from 2012-2016. In 2016, members of NLPA began discussing the capacity challenges we were facing and how to sustain parent organizing work here in New London, Connecticut. In March 2017, in consensus with NLPA founders and members, we began to shift NLPA to Step Up New London.
In 2013, New London Parent Advocates (now Step Up New London), began a campaign to improve policy and disciplinary practices in the New London Public School (NLPS) system to correct the disproportionate number of youth of color and special education students who are being suspended, expelled, and arrested in our schools. In 2014, we co-sponsored "The Color Or Justice," Forum which included a documentary presented by Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. Later that year, we released a report about school discipline in NLPS which confirmed youth of color and youth with special needs were disproportionately impacted by punitive discipline policies and presented it to the Board of Education (BOE). This then led to the formation of the School Discipline working group (SDWG), which consisted of students, parents, administrators, BOE members, community members, etc. Meeting biweekly for 10 months, together we researched Restorative Justice approaches, particularly those underway and proven in other districts, and developed specific policy recommendations for NLPS. After, the report was presented to the BOE in 2015. As a result, NLPS began to implement a restorative practice pilot program, the first-ever in our district.
Most recently, in October 2017, Step Up New London successfully raised over $20,000 to organize an Undoing Racism/Community Organizing Workshop led by the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. A collective of 42 people, inclusive of parents, youth, community organizations and allies comprising of various income levels, ethnic/cultural backgrounds and nationalities, and genders were able to participate in a 2 1/2 day intensive anti-racist workshop.
Create safe places/spaces for people who are of different identities to feel valued and heard.
Educate and raise the political consciousness about oppression and injustice, giving people the language and framework useful and necessary for understanding and ultimately critiquing the world around them.
Engage with community based campaign development and movements as a vehicle for powerful social change while understanding that people who are most affected by injustice will be the ones who hold the tools, knowledge, and power to work against it.
Actively value young people and place them at the center of political conversations to strengthen a New London community which supports young people in speaking for themselves and creating a community they want to be a part of.
Practice solidarity and supportive community, to develop strong relationships with other young people and adults, building confidence, leadership skills, and community.
Move at the pace of trust. Be responsive. Time, dialog, and interaction with a subject are key to processing information and application.
Have fun and challenge ourselves! Learn hard, work hard, play hard!