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07/20/2019 | Organizing for Education Justice

YOUTH LEADERSHIP: Young People Build Relationships & Welcome Each Other at People's Convention

To kickoff the People’s Convention, youth participants first came together in a welcome room led by Davonte Johnson (Tae) from Detroit Action. Everyone shared what kept them going in the face of adversity and why they were inspired to be at the convention. Then the youth participated in a privilege walk, lifting up the voices of those less privileged by placing them in the middle, rather than the outskirts. They talked about how those most impacted by injustices should be the ones leading the fight for justice.  

Tae, reflected that, “the most impactful part of the convention for me was the welcome night and the welcome room. We were able to help facilitate breaking down the walls and barriers that people have just coming from around the country to get to know people, and being able to witness so much transparency and authenticity inside the room was beautiful… I wanted to leave people with a family atmosphere, and I think we accomplished that. It was like we all knew each other for years.” 

After dinner, we officially kicked off the youth track with a celebration in a room overlooking the Detroit River. While music played, the youth mingled and had snacks. Young people from Detroit Action welcomed everyone who had just travelled across the country to be together. We were even surprised with a special performance by Lah Tere

During the welcome reception, we also debuted the new YERR Logo! Crystal Aguierre from Make the Road Connecticut (MTRCT) and Fiona Joseph from Make the Road New Jersey (MTRNJ) made up the SWAG committee that brainstormed the logo and swag for young people at the convention. Fiona said, “We really got to thinking what symbolizes us as YERR as a whole and the things that connected us. We are all young people, we all believe in causes for a more progressive future, and we have such diverse identities.” After a lot of brainstorming, the committee decided on different symbols that were important to YERR. Crystal explained that “the multicolored flag in the back symbolizes pride in a lot of our communities. It represents that we all stand together no matter our sexual orientation, our gender, our skin color. We have the power fist because we all fight together.” 

After the celebratory welcome, we broke off into groups to discuss the various leadership roles young people would take on during the convention, including being photographers, a social media team, chant committees, and more! 

The night ended with button decorating, chant practice, sign making, and great conversation.