Friday, September 14, 2007

Locals unite under Yes! banner

By Trina Kleist, (from

12:01 a.m. PT Aug 25, 2007

Yes! is a nonprofit organization that brings together young people who have money with young people who have a cause.

A small group has formed in Nevada County to support the international organization’s goal of empowering youth who are making the world more just, humane and sustainable.

“We wanted people to know there’s something hopeful going on in the world for young people,” said Nina Snegg of Nevada City, one of the local supporters of the group’s fundraising efforts.

The organization was founded by Ocean Robbins and a friend in 1990 when he was 16 — already with the experience of having organized an elementary-school peace rally, running a natural bakery and facilitating international youth summits in Washington, D.C., and Moscow, according to the organization’s Web site.

Based in Soquel, Calif., Yes! operates networking sessions, called jams, with outstanding young leaders from 65 countries who are working to save indigenous people’s land, guard schools from violence, broker truces between gangs, train religious people for social action, work toward sustainable local economies and scores of other projects.

The organization also brings together young people of money and privilege who want to learn how they can leverage their positions to support social change, fulfilling their values and their visions.

Now 33, Robbins recently discussed the long-range goals, wide-ranging movements affiliated with Yes! and the organization’s funding needs at the home of Mike and Nina Snegg, co-hosted by Aaron Snegg, Malaika Edwards and Aeron Miller.

“The event, called Generation of Hope, was an exhilarating and inspiring event,” Nina Snegg said. “The event featured a moving presentation by a troupe of extraordinary young global leaders.”

That troupe included Mayerly Sanchez, now 19, a Colombian who at 12 founded the Children’s Peace Movement after her friend was stabbed in gang violence. Sanchez and the movement have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at least twice for their impact on the nation’s four-decade-old civil war, and they were chosen by UNICEF to attend a peace conference at The Hague in the late 1990s.

Yes! has supported the Children’s Peace Movement, now involving three million children, with networking and training for Sanchez and other leaders.

Yes! operates with a yearly budget of more than $1.2 million, with four full-time staff members and affiliate offices in India, Africa, Asia, South America and the United States, according to the organization’s 2006 annual report.

To learn more about the organization, call (831) 465-1091, visit or mail to

To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call 477-4230.

Selma: Day of Witness To Hate Crimes

By Chapin Gray and Jim Toweill (from

Selma, AL - Over 100 activists, youth and community organizers met at the 21st Century Youth Leadership Center outside Selma, Alabama, July 14 to witness the aftermath of a recent attack on the center. The 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement is an organization that helps train African-American youth for future leadership roles in their communities.

In March, while thousands, including big-name politicians and civil rights leaders, rallied to commemorate Bloody Sunday - the march for voting rights in 1965 that was met with fierce police brutality - vandals broke into the center, trashing rooms, destroying office equipment, pulling plumbing from ceilings, cutting appliance cords and spray painting racial slurs and obscenities on the walls, even severing gas lines. This resulted in a total of $200,000 worth of damage.

This is not the first hate crime committed against members and leaders of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement. Cars were firebombed outside the law offices of organizers Hank and Rose Sanders at the height of the “Joe Gotta Go” campaign against Selma’s incumbent republican candidate for mayor, Joe Smitherman, in 2000.

The progressive local African-American radio station has been the target of multiple attacks, and both the tower and the station itself have been set fire to and burned down. Road signs for the nearby Martin Luther King Drive have been shot up repeatedly, as has the grave of Jimmy Lee Jackson, whose murders sparked the march on Selma in 1965.

Read the whole article and see pictures of the damage here.