SOCIAL JUSTICE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY 2016
July 12 - August 12, 2016 | Mondays - Fridays, 10am - 3pm | Ages 13-18.
Kite’s Nest and the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center partnered for the third year to run the amazing Social Justice Leadership Academy! The Social Justice Leadership Academy (SJLA) is a five-week summer leadership training for teenagers growing up in Hudson, based on the principles of social justice and youth-led change.
Twenty-four teenagers came together every day for five weeks to develop their voices and visions for change. We explored how our identities shape our experiences, and examined both structures of power and movements for liberation. Together we built our skills for community organizing, produced powerful music and radio, took photographs, wrote poetry, performed speeches, cooked meals, visited farms, and connected with other inspiring organizers and artists.
Thank you to all of our partners: Found Sound Nation (Brooklyn, NY); Oral History Summer School (Hudson, NY); Wildseed (Millerton, NY); Left in Focus Photography (Hudson, NY); Truthworker Theater Company (Brooklyn, NY); The Watershed Center (Millerton, NY), Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood adn Hudson PROMISE Corps (Hudson, NY), Soul Fire Farm (Petersburg NY), The YaYa Network (New York, NY); Kamou Ware (New York, NY); WGXC Radio (Holly Tanner, Justin Weaver, Vern Cross, Kamal Johnson and Ranier Blue in Hudson, NY); and Long Table Harvest (Hudson, NY).
A special thank you to our supporters: The Dyson Foundation, Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Margot Seigle, Joan Osofsky, Gregg Osofsky, The Redlich Horwitz Foundation, Earl Swanigan, NY State Summer Employment Program, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and Berkshire Bank. And to this summer's educators: Brianna Pope, Calvin Lewis, Isabella Lee, Kaya Weidman, Jalal Sabur, Nicole LoBue, Paige Gbasie, Quintin Cross, Sara Kendall and Sharece Johnson.
MUSIC PRODUCED BY SJLA 2016:
projects: photography, radio, food
photos from the summer
WEEK 1: WHO ARE WE?
We began our summer with a week of activities, conversations and games to begin building our community and culture. We began with questions of identity: what parts of our identity matter most to us? What parts of our identity shape our experiences of privilege, oppression, and power? We wrote poetry, recorded radio interviews, and performed skits. We worked together to remember the significant political/cultural events that had taken place throughout the year. At the end of the week, we met up with the Truthworker Theater Company at the Watershed Center, and took a swim at Wildseed.
WEEK 2: STRUCTURES OF POWER & CHANGE
How do we connect our own experience to larger structures of power? How do we mobilize to make change? This week we began to distinguish between internalized, interpersonal, and institutional oppression. We met with our Mayor and the Common Council President to learn about making change within our political system. We imagined our dream communities, explored how far we would go to protect what we love, and discovered inspiring social movements around the world. Then we travelled to Soul Fire Farm to connect with the movement for food justice and land liberation, and we had a camping sleepover!
WEEK 3: RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE
This week we asked: How do we take care of ourselves, each other, and our communities? How do we heal, and what does it mean to be resilient? We talked about gender stereotypes and expectations, and shared our own experiences and stories. We made our own resilience sprays, ointments, tinctures and salves. We wrote collaborative poems and practiced speaking up, using our voice and expression as tools for resistance. We were joined throughout the week by guest music producers from Found Sound Nation, who worked with us all week to write lyrics, produce songs, and to host a public performance.
WEEK 4: TEACH BACKS / STEPPING OUTSIDE
SJLA youth chose special topics to explore, research, and to prepare a teach-back around, sharing what they learned with other youth. Their workshops were called: Sexual Violence & Consent; Debunking the Myths and Telling Our Stories: Immigration; College 101; Absent Fathers; and Show Who You Are: Media and the Message. This week we also headed out to record on-the-street interviews in Hudson, asking people questions about what issues they care most about. And we spent a day together in New York City, taking a powerful Black Rebellion History walking tour of Wall Street with Kamau Ware, and visiting some amazing youth organizers of the YaYa Network.
WEEK 5: PROJECT LAB & COMMUNITY EVENT!
In our final week together teens choreographed dances, wrote speeches and poems, produced radio pieces and went live on the radio, created photography projects, prepared a menu, and planned a giant public event. This year the theme of our final event was community and togetherness: the teens didn't want to just present and perform, they wanted to hear from the community, and create a space where people could come together across difference. 150 people came out for a meal of empanadas and beef patties; bannann peze, pikliz & marinad; sweet and salty plantains; tamales; salsa verde; Jamaican-style chicken curry with roti; collards; churros; and pie. SJLA teens hosted the event, shared their extraordinary work, and danced until dark.