Activist Group Pays California Students $1,400 to Become Social Justice Activists

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The school district also used nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds from 2019 to 2023 to pay for equity and diversity training for students and teachers.

A California activist group is paying high school students $1,400 each to become racial and social justice activists, according to contracts between the group and the Long Beach Unified School District.

The school district used nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds from 2019 to 2023 to pay Californians for Justice for equity and diversity leadership training for its students and teachers, according to news outlet The Free Press—a new media company founded by Bari Weiss, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times—who obtained the contracts.

The most recent contract between the group and the district runs until June 2024.

According to the group’s website, the purpose of the training programs for high schoolers is to “[provide] leadership development opportunities throughout the school year and summer to ensure our youth leaders gain the political education and valuable organizing skills they need to lead social justice movements.”

The website also states it has “trained hundreds of youth of color in Long Beach to be community leaders and organizers,” and says it has advocated for implementing “restorative justice practices” across the district’s 84 schools.

Millikan High School in Long Beach, Calif. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
Millikan High School in Long Beach, Calif. (Screenshot via Google Street View)

In addition to giving a one-time stipend of $1,400 to 78 students who participated in the group’s programs—about $100,000 in total—the group also distributed $20,200 to 13 parents who participated in the program from 2019 to 2024, the outlet reported.

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While it’s unclear which students are eligible for the program or the stipends, the group’s website states its “leadership development” programs operate “with a focus on low-income youth, youth of color, LGBTQ youth, foster youth, and immigrant youth.”

The website also states that the purpose of the student programs are to train students to “break the cycle of racial bias in our schools” by “transforming policies, practices, and perceptions.”

A spokesperson for the district told The Free Press that the district considers the programs and the stipends as “internships” to ensure “equitable participation in [Californians for Justice] programs, embracing diverse perspectives in education.”

The Long Beach Unified School District in Southern California currently enrolls 65,500 students.

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