We work to build homegrown leadership, expanding access and opportunity, and promote an equitable society by engaging and organizing the leadership of young people.
To transform communities through a bold and proactive agenda led by young people, that in our lifetime makes the movement to respect and value black and brown lives matter a reality.
In just our first few years as an organization, we ran a scaled electoral program reaching tens of thousands of young people in Milwaukee.
As young people lead electoral engagement across the country, we’ve seen this generation’s energy in our own community. Milwaukee’s young people know that it is our time to take control of our democracy and liberation, and because of the work we put in this year, they also know they have a strong political home with LIT.
In the midterm election we saw a 6% increase in voter turnout in the areas where we ran deep organizing work and continue with the increase voter turnout with Wisconsin youth turnout more than 4% than the national average. That turnout was can be directly tied to the major GOTV program we ran for statewide races organizing & mobilizing youth power and winning races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, US Senate, and the US Congress.
We also hustled to make progress our issue campaigns. We developed and released a 30-page report alongside Center for Popular Democracy, Failure from Freedom: Dismantling Milwaukee’s School to Prison Pipeline with the Youth Power Agenda.
Our students fought and won in getting the Milwaukee Public School Board to reject a reckless and discriminatory policy that would have further criminalized black and brown youth in our schools. Our campaign and students have also been highlighted in national outlets like Blavity, The Intercept, and ThinkProgress.
We were profiled by Now This News for our work fighting voter suppression, and engaging young voters in Milwaukee.
During the May Milwaukee Public School Board meeting, the board voted to divest 600k from policing, security, and criminalizing students, and invest those funds into 6 new trauma informed mental health positions. This marks the first Invest Divest win in Milwaukee, which came directly from Leaders Igniting Transformation’s advocacy and demands.
This is transformational for the youth inside of Milwaukee Public Schools. The presence of police officers, guns, handcuffs and metal detectors in schools creates hostile teaching and learning environments that are reinforced by harsh, punitive and exclusionary school discipline policies. We are now 1 step closer to sealing the rail to jail that is the School to Prison Pipeline.
Sept. 22, we advocated against a proposed contract with ADANI Systems that would install airport-style x-ray (metal detectors) machines in more than a dozen MPS High Schools. Our advocacy led to the MPS Board of School Directors Committee on Accountability, Finance, and Personnel rejected the proposal on a 3-2 vote.
We were profiled by Brave New Films for our work fighting against the school to prison pipeline, and our civic engagement work that is turning out Milwaukee voters in the hundreds of thousands.
Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) is a youth of color led independent nonprofit. Founded in 2017, LIT engages in values-based issue and electoral organizing, direct action, advocacy for public policy, and leadership development. On campuses and communities in Milwaukee’s key geographies, we organize young people to build independent political power for social, racial and economic justice.
We are organizing a political and cultural bloc of young people to define the future of our communities through public policy and cultural change. We believe progressive grassroots political power is most effectively built with a two-pronged strategy – growing resilience and excellence of youth of color, and engaging youth in a full spectrum of year-round civic engagement.
Rather than focusing solely on issues or elections, we are building an organization with a continuously expanding base of young people through both issue-organizing and civic engagement. Our complete engagement accelerates leadership development, growth in organizational capacity, public narrative development and political education, and has allowed us to win several victories in a short period of time.