United Way of Southeast Alaska and Juneau Violence Prevention Coalition cohosted a teen-led conference on equity that provided resources for teens to interrupt oppression and promote respect within their schools and peer groups.
The conference took place on Friday, May 13th and had over 150 participants from all 3 Juneau high schools.
Take a look at our PDF version of the BE THE CHANGE booklet each student took home from the conference!
Our goal was to promote equity and social justice by interrupting oppression. We did this by discussing tough social issues (gender, race, stereotypes) and by educating youth on these topics. We created a safe place for discussion where teens could share personal stories of challenges and growth. By talking about social issues, we can work toward change. The workshops offered students various ways to be the change, such as through school policy or informing an adult of a friend who may be in an unhealthy relationship or who may be suicidal. We gave teens the tools they need to create change in the community.
Presenters and workshops included:
Sitka Youth Leadership Committee (SYLC), which is a youth led committee that works toward promoting non-violence and respect in Sitka and beyond. SYLC provides opportunities for teens to develop leadership skills, create positive media messages, and influence change in their community. They offered two workshops at the conference. The first was about building a positive peer culture, which was an open discussion about social issues, such as racism, sexism, etc. The second workshop was a training for teens to learn how to continue the conversation among their peers and how to make changes in their community.
Sitka Youth Leadership brought with them the “I AM" CAMPAIGN which is a social media movement that encourages people to take a photo of themselves and use the hashtag #RespectChallange. They brought a photo-booth with them so people could take photos and choose an adjective about themselves. The photos were Polaroid so participants could write the adjective below and then take a photo of the Polaroid to put onto social media.
Teen Council is a national peer led sexuality education program for high school students. Teen Council led a workshop on Healthy relationships, and also discussed gender, love, and stereotypes.
LeadOn! For Peace and Equality is a statewide youth leadership conference for teens to develop skills in ending violence, promoting respect, and implementing social change in the community. Their workshop was impacting school policy. The examined current school policies and discussed how they could be improved. They also discussed a cyber bullying policy that the teens in LeadOn have been working on this year.
Sources of Strength
Sources of Strength is a student leadership program aimed at improving school climate, developing help-seeking behaviors from youth to adults, and breaking codes of silence. Their workshop was about using the sources of strength in their lives, identifying signs of unhealthy relationships and suicide, as well as identifying an adult in their lives who they can trust and turn to in a time of need.
Woosh Kinaadeiyí is committed to diversity, inclusive community and empowering voice. They foster supportive spaces to share stories through:
- Providing a platform that honors identity and oral traditions
- Evaluating personal expression and engaged listening
- Establishing relationships within and between communities
- Offering educational opportunities to develop and strengthen voice
Christy and Fysh presented a workshop titled “The power of your voice.” Christy is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, community activist, educator, and writer whose work is grounded in social justice and community engagement.
FySh is 16 years old and is a performer of music and spoken word.