Header Image Mobile Header Image


07/20/2019 | Organizing for Education Justice

YOUTH LEADERSHIP: Youth Power Workshop Brings Together 200 Young People

As an end to the People's Convention youth track, the convention launched its very first youth workshop. This event not only gathered around 200 YERR members, but the programming goals were planned by youth! Jeremiah, a member of Make the Road New York, when referring to youth being able to come together in this way stated: “Bringing a bunch of people together for a cause is very powerful, it’s inspiring, it’s a beautiful sight.” 

We began by analyzing three different forms of oppression in our communities: capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. We discussed neoliberalism and how we can use people power to reverse the effects of it in our society. 

With this grounding on the overarching issues that are detrimental to our communities, we moved into the second half of the workshop where we discussed ways to combat these issues. This kicked off the current year-long process of ratifying the Youth Power Platform which outlines the goals for YERR moving forward. The Youth Power Platform was drafted by a youth committee in the months leading up to the convention and reviewed by YERR leadership before the convening. During the workshop, each of the organizations could vote on whether or not they agreed, disagreed, or had suggestions with each of the tenants in the document. 

We ended the day by agreeing that the way to achieve our vision is by building a mass youth movement. Young people practiced their outreach conversation so they could talk with their friends, peers, and community members about joining the movement. Urban Youth Collaborative led this session and included a skit of how to have these conversations. Onyx Walker, a youth leader for the organization described the process of developing the skit and what it was meant to project: “Our process was making it as realistic and relatable as possible while also not making it feel like a set-up.”  Youth were able to visualize the massive network they wanted to build with a “Network Tree” activity in which they listed all the people they could reach out to. This activity was created by Make the Road CT. Devene from Make the Road Nevada reflected on this experience: “The part of the youth power workshop with the network tree helped me realize that every single one of us could reach out to our friends and family that we may not have thought had any interest in activism like we do and really make connections.” Each young person committed to reaching out to ten people to grow the movement. 

The day ended with celebrator chant and picture!