I’ve learned that there is nothing that we cannot do.
Sharlen Moore is Co-Founder & Director of both Youth Justice Milwaukee and Urban Underground.
Among Ms. Moore's affiliations and accomplishments:
- School Board Member, Highland Community School
- Member, League of Women Voters Milwaukee County
- Graduate, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
What inspires your passion for these issues?
I’ve had the honor of co-founding a youth leadership organization for high school age young people that has been building leaders for the last 20 years. Their advocacy efforts have led them to work on issues related to health, education, public safety, and youth justice. Alumni of our organization have grown to hold political office, traveled the world, and continued to fight for change within their communities. During the last 3 years, I have had the opportunity to be one of the co-founding members of Youth Justice Milwaukee, which is a coalition to close down the youth prisons in Wisconsin and advocate for alternatives to youth incarceration. Most of our work has been centered around using youth voice to impact community change.
One of my great mentors has been Viola Rembert who ran the Black Achievers program when I was a freshman in high school. She inspired the young people to lead and created a space for us to start our own youth leadership program, then known as the Teen Achievers program. She and other supportive adults provided us the space to lead and we flourished. That was when I realized that young people possessed the power to really change the world. Meeting her changed the course of my life and inspired who I am today.
What would you say to other women and girls who want to make or support change in their community, state, world?
There is nothing that can stop women and girls from making an impact in their community or the world. It starts with having a passion to work on an issue and putting in the work to make it happen. I’ve learned that there is nothing that we cannot do. So go for it!
What would you say to a woman thinking about running for elected office?
Go for it!!! Women are doing some incredible work representing their community and answering the call to make change and fight for their communities. Even though we are not fully represented, more and more women are running for office and winning! That speaks volumes on the energy we have to give and the passion we possess. We are answering the call to build a more equitable society.
Inspired by the centennial of the 19th Amendment, would you like to comment on voting or have a story to share?
I moved to this country from Jamaica in the early 80's. As I got older, I learned the value of voting and the power that the people possess just by casting a ballot. My parents did not have their citizenship while I was still underaged, so I had to work on acquiring it once I got to be an adult. The process was long and tedious, but I knew it was going to be all worth it. The day I took the oath to be a citizen of the United States, I knew that a whole new world would be opened for me. I was excited and honored to have cast my first ballot. I knew this was my civic right and it was up to me to exercise what it means to be a citizen.
For more information:Youth Justice Milwaukee https://www.youthjusticemke.org/