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We use direct actions to interrupt the status quo and bring awareness to key issues and different forms of state violence affecting the root causes of the plight of black and brown people around the world.,


We stand against the many forms of state violence: police killings, mass incarceration, poverty and others.  We stand for justice for Tony Robinson and ALL Black lives lost at the hands of the state. We stand for community and self determination. We will not stop until we are free.

YGB Events

YGB raising awareness and building community

YGB at the YWCA Racial Justice Summit
11 Aug 2015

YGB at the YWCA Racial Justice Summit

Starting October 1st through the 2nd Register with the YWCA here


Session 5: State Violence and Race Today: Teach-in with Young Gifted and Black (MB, E)

Our workshop will be focused on developing an analysis of systemic racism, how it impacts the lives of people of color and what we are doing about it. This will highlight ways that Young Gifted and Black has succeeded in combating systemic racism in the form of state violence and develop an in depth understanding of our demands: Divest from the Prison Industrial Complex, Re-invest in to Black Led Initiatives, End Solitary Confinement, Release the 350, Community Control of the Police. We'll give insight into some of our methods, including direct actions, petitioning the United Nations as well as community building sessions. We look forward to the opportunity to build community with the YWCA and empower others in the struggle toward Racial Justice.

Brandi Grayson: Brandi Grayson is organizer and spokesperson with the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition (YGB) and is also the Director of Employment Services for the YWCA. She brings skills employed professionally to her fight for the creation of new black images that instruct changes needed to create solutions to black and brown peoples’ economic and criminalization issues.

Brandi Grayson’s first spokesperson opportunity came in 1995 when she was invited to introduce Hilary Clinton and speak on the issues that the country was facing at the time. Her speech ended with a standing ovation. At UW-Madison, from which she graduated with a degree in psychology, she was elected to the position of Diversity Liaison Coordinator for the student government (ASM). Thus leading to many occasions in which she facilitated and lead large groups. 
In 2014 Brandi saw the need to organize her own people to proactively prevent a Mike Brown from happening in Madison, WI. As a result of her understanding of the psychological platforms used by the police department and her ability to crunch numbers—she predicted that the Madison police was inches away from murdering a black person.

Consequently, the YGB Coalition was formed. Brandi, called a gifted orator by Dissent News Wire, was requested to speak by NAACP, African American Associated Council of Churches, Revolutionary Communist Party, International Socialist Organization, just to name a few. She also has had multiple TV and radio interviews including: WORT, The Devil’s Advocate, Democracy Now, CNN, MSN, Here and Now (WPT), and Al Jazeera. Brandi is featured in Madison Magazine (April’s edition) in a 3 page spread of her work as an activist. She also coauthored an article published by The Guardian, “When Policed Killed Tony Robinson, They Revealed a Much Less Liberal Madison.”

Brandi, a single mother of two biological daughters, one adopted, and one foster daughter, will use her broad range of black experiences to project the images and concepts through which truth, understanding and fairness will help set us free when combined with respect of opposing viewpoints. Brandi believes deeply in education outside of institutionalized education. She believes it is imperative for Black Americans to gain knowledge of self. She also believes that once we learn and know our story, we will then know our greatness and be propelled to act. Without the foundation of knowledge of where we come from, it becomes impossible to know where we are going.

She thinks in Black. “My life and world is framed by the blood of my ancestors that flows through my veins.”

M Adams: 
M. Adams is a community organizer and co-executive director of Freedom Inc., where she has been for seven years. Freedom Inc. works with low to no income Black and Hmong wimmin, queer folks, and youth in Dane County. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Adams has been in Madison since 2003. Adams’s dad has been incarcerated most of her life and she comes from a community that has been the extreme target of police violence. Adams, herself, is also a proud dad to a 2-year-old who is a primary motivator for her work. As a queer Black person, Adams has developed and advocated for a strong intersectional approach in numerous important venues: Adams led four contingencies to Ferguson, Missouri last fall and is a leading figure in the Take Back the Land Movement. She presented before the United Nations for the Convention on Eliminating Racial Discrimination, is the co-Author of Forward from Ferguson and a work in progress on Black community control over the police, and author to intersectionality theory in Why Killing Unarmed Black folks is a Queer Issue. Most recently, Adams can be seen in person, on TV or in the newspapers giving near weekly presentations, testifying and city council meetings, and energizing crowds at protests as a member of the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition.

Social Good Summit

Thursday August 20

9:30am - 3:30pm

Madison, WI

Entrepreneurship at its best incorporates the business of improving the world we live in -- caring, sharing, building community, and unleashing new creative economies. Join us for a daylong summit to collectively redefine entrepreneurship in terms that reconsider the value of social good in all the work that we do. Through a moderated panel discussion, participant engagement activities, and networking opportunities, we will, together, build a larger kind of entrepreneurship worthy of Wisconsin – one where prosperity benefits everyone, without exception.

The Summit is an all day event on Thursday August 20th. We're starting with a Redefining Entrepreneurship panel in the morning where Amy Gannon, Edgewood College School of Business Interim Dean and Co-Founder of the Doyenne Group, will challenge a panel of entrepreneurial leaders and grassroots community builders to answer core questions such as: How should a city like Madison define what entrepreneurship means to us as a community, as we focus time, energy, and finances on developing entrepreneurs? What definition of entrepreneurship do we value?

After the panel and Q&A, we'll grab a catered lunch from Steenbock's, over which we'll engage as small groups in the afternoon's Really Big Questions workshop. Eric Upchurch, Lead Organizer with Young Gifted & Black Coalition and Director of Development and Marketing for the YWCA, will lead us as we dig into what it really means for entrepreneurship to best deliver the social goods. We'll then come back together afterwards to compare and discuss what we found.



No New Jail (Disparities in Mental Health)

Wednesday, August 12th 5:00 PM

City County Building

210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Madison, WI 53703

As a result of our work in the streets, the county has agreed to halt spending on the jail and instead engage the community in workgroups that will make recommendations focusing on Mental Health, Length of Stay, and Alternatives to Incarceration. This Wednesday, the Mental Health workgroup will have one of its final meetings. We are asking our community to show up and raise voice to end racial disparities in the jail. End solitary confinement ● Establish community­based mental health resources that interrupt arrest and incarceration (see interruption programs LEAD under Resources) ● Create an on­call 24/7 field team of mental health crisis professionals, and eliminate current policies and practices that rely on so­called 'mental health' police officers. ● Establish a mental health toolkit to support Dane County’s Circuit Court Judges. This includes but is not limited to screening tools or assessment to determine placement; options of treatments/services need to be available (especially for individuals without health insurance); and whether a toolkit should be integrated into all criminal courtrooms.● Increase funding and access for programs that take an innovative approach and are Black­centered and Black­led such as Sankofa Behavioral & Community Health.

Madison Pressing Forward: The Fight for Justice for Tony Robinson and to End Police Brutality
11 Aug 2015

Madison Pressing Forward: The Fight for Justice for Tony Robinson and to End Police Brutality

Wednesday, August 12th 4:30PM

State Capitol Building

MLK Entrance


In the five+ months since the MPD shooting and killing of unarmed 19 year old Tony Robinson, over 520 lives have been taken by police officers across the U.S. In Madison, the confrontation of Black people by police has jumped to 11 Black people for every 1 White person, up from 8:1 last year. The movement for change continues to push ahead to stop state sanctioned and MPD approved violence. Please join the Robinson-Irwin family on WED AUG 12th at 4:30 PM (CST) at the steps of the WI State Capitol for an important press conference announcement regarding upcoming actions in the case of Tony Terrell Robinson Jr.  #JUSTICEFORTONY

Stop Criminalizing Homelessness
11 Aug 2015

Stop Criminalizing Homelessness

Wednesday, August 12th 3:00PM

Philosopher's Grove

The Intersection of W. Mifflin & State St.

The City of Madison has a history of criminalizing the poor and homeless. From strategic placement of ATMs to funded programs that displace the homeless. The Police and the Mayor have removed the stones from Philosopher's Grove in an effort to displace the homeless community. Operation Welcome Home and YGB will be standing against the targeting of the homeless. Come and have food and continue building community to assert our right to exist in public. We will not be moved.

Build the People Not the Jail
11 Aug 2015

Build the People Not the Jail

Tuesday, August 11th 5:30 PM

Alliant Energy Center

1919 Alliant Energy Center Way

Madison, WI 53713

The Alternatives to Incarceration workgroup (formed around Resolution 556 to interrupt jail spending) will be having one of its last meetings. We're urging community members who are available to attend the meeting and help us hold the county to their word to end incarcerations racial disparities. Implement a program with a Black­led organization running a transformative justice program that is not tied to the court system or the police department. (see Project NIA, as well as Freedom Inc, Operation Welcome Home and Christ the Solid Rock )● Increase mental health treatment and in­depth care such as Community Support Programs.● Develop and support the inclusion of culturally­specific care/counseling services by Black­led organizations. ● Create Day Reporting Centers and parallel programming.● Implement policies that require police to refer people to alternatives rather than jail. ● Locate all current Dane County Alternatives to Incarceration programs within one or more clustered “one­stop shopping” facilities with a priority of addressing racial disparities in incarceration and racially equitable access to participating in jail alternative programs.

"We the 350" Stories of Poverty, Racism and Incarceration in Wisconsin
09 Aug 2015

"We the 350" Stories of Poverty, Racism and Incarceration in Wisconsin

Saturday November 7 @ 8:00pm

Sunday November 8 @ 2:00pm

Overture Center for the Arts

Promenade Hall

Madison, WI 53705

We the 350 is a narrative-based performance exploring themes of racism, poverty, and incarceration in Wisconsin. The content of the 45 minute performance is based in interviews done with Black activists in Wisconsin about their experiences as youth and adults living in some of the most racially segregated (Milwaukee) and racially disparate (Madison) cities in the country. 
The performance paints a compelling picture of what the intersections between racism, poverty, and disparate incarceration rates for Wisconsin’s Black population look like in someone’s daily life. We the 350 explores the ways that state structures rely on intersections between race and class, along with many other intersections, to maintain racially disparate arrest and incarceration rates in Wisconsin.

Please be advised that the show includes narratives describing physical, mental and sexual violence.

This event is sponsored by the Young Gifted & Black Coalition, UW-Madison’s Comparative US Studies and Overture Center’s Community Arts Access Program.

Honoring lost Black Lives: Black BBQ
08 Aug 2015

Honoring lost Black Lives: Black BBQ

Sunday, August 9, 3:00pm

Penn Park

2101 Fisher St

Madison, WI 53713


This Sunday, august 9th, marks the one year anniversary of Michael Browns murder. It will also be the day Aprina Paul is laid to rest, nearly two years after she was murdered. Let's remember all Black Lives lost, from Michael, to Aprina, to Tony, to Tamir, to Sandra, and countless more. This will be a BBQ in remembrance, bring food, bring laughter, bring heart and love as we embrace this life long struggle. So join us this Sunday at 3:00pm at Penn Park. There will be a vigil later to close out the event. #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName


YGB needs your voice in order to get an investigation by the United Nations as we elevate the conversation of of racial disparities in Madison and fight for justice for Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teen murdered at the hands of officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department  



YGB demands that Matt Kenny, the murderer of Tony Robinson, be fired. Far to often are killer cops left unpunished, and we want Kenny off the streets.



The Young Gifted and Black Coalition is a circle of young leaders determined to end state violence and raise the voice of communities of color. We are young Black Women, Queer Folks, Straight Folks and Feminist Men who are fighting for Black Liberation. Our focus is on the low income black communities that our core members call home. 




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