SOCIAL JUSTICE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY 2017
Ages 11-19 | Monday - Friday 10am - 3pm | July 10 - August 11 2017
From July - August 2017, twenty-five teenagers joined us for the fourth year of our 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.
Over the course of five weeks, youth ages 11 - 19 came together to step up as young leaders, developing their visions and voices for change. Together youth staff and participants collaborated to express their ideas, develop meaningful relationships of trust and mutual support, gain tools for political analysis, identify the issues impacting their communities, express themselves creatively, learn real leadership skills, and connect with inspiring people and organizations.
Thank you to all of our partners: SBK Social Justice Center (Hudson, NY); Wildseed (Millerton, NY); Youth FX (Albany, NY); Found Sound Nation (Brooklyn, NY); Bryan MacCormack, Left in Focus Photography (Hudson, NY); Wild Gather (Hudson, NY); The Watershed Center (Millerton, NY); Hudson Muslim Youth (Hudson, NY); WiseBodies (Chatham, NY); Columbia County Sanctuary Movement (Hudson, NY); Mike Mosby (Hudson, NY); WGXC: 90.7-FM, with Kamal Johnson & Vern Cross (Hudson, NY); Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood (Hudson, NY); Taina Asili & Gaetano Vaccaro (Albany, NY); Basilica Hudson (Hudson, NY); High Line Youth (New York, NY); Jason Marlow; Uprose Youth Climate Summit (New York, NY); Olivia Williams; Anneice Cousin.
A special thank you to our supporters: Longtable Harvest; The Dyson Foundation; The Redlich Horwitz Foundation; Margot Seigle; Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation; Gregg Osofsky; NY State Summer Employment Program; Letterbox Farm Collective; Ronnybrook Farm & Jonathan Osofsky; Ginsberg's Foods. And to this summer's educators: Zebi Williams, Sharece Johnson, Calvin Lewis, Cedric Fulton, Sara Kendall, TeeQuan Davis, and Kaya Weidman.
Songs produced in collaboration with Found Sound Nation.
Produced by Suhana, Trevor, Rachel, Nicholas, and Mia. With Akinyemi, Ezra Tenenbaum and Ricky Nigaglioni, and community guests: Juan & Anneice
Produced by Shaylyn, Domninque, Stephanie, Kenold, Monique, and Keshawna. With Sharece Johnson and Sara Lucas.
PHOTOS FROM THE SUMMER
WEEK 1: BUILDING OUR COMMUNITY + CULTURE
We began our summer with a week of activities, conversations and games to begin building our community and culture. We built trust through field challenges and games, and explored our different leadership styles through skits. We created our own jeopardy game to remember the significant political/cultural events that had taken place throughout the year, and produced our own puppet shows to teach about issues that matter to us most. We practiced putting our ideas into words, with passionate discussions about school discipline, the role of police in our communities, and the existence of borders throughout the world. And of course, each day we cooked and ate delicious meals together.
WEEK 2: GROWING OUR NETWORK, BUILDING OUR POWER
OVERNIGHT AT WILDSEED, HUDSON MUSLIM YOUTH, "WHOSE STREETS" SCREENING WITH YOUTH FX
We began week two with an overnight camping trip to Wildseed, a Black and Brown-led community, farm, and healing sanctuary in Millerton, NY. We toured the land at Wildseed to help envision its future, contributing our own dreams and ideas, and we swam, hiked, harvested garlic, and ate s’mores around the campfire. Back at Kite’s Nest we hosted the Hudson Muslim Youth, a group of young people who led us in a powerful and personal “myth-busting” workshop about Islam. We also hosted 25 youth from Youth FX, who joined us and the Hudson Muslim Youth for a special youth screening of Whose Streets, a documentary film about the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson. To end the week we learned about how to transform our desire for change into political power, learning about policy-change and working to write our own speeches. We also traveled to The School in Kinderhook to check out the Black Panther archive, and headed out into the streets to register new voters!
WEEK 3: CREATIVE EXPRESSION + PRODUCTION
MUSIC PRODUCTION, MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND LIVE RADIO
An herbalist and educator from Wild Gather joined us at the beginning of week three to teach us about health justice: how do we take care of ourselves, and each other? Together we created resilience sprays and burn bundles. Then we dove into a week of creative expression and production. The incredible Taina Asili and Gaetano Vaccaro kicked it off with a songwriting-for-change workshop. We broke into small groups to produce music, radio, photography and film projects: some students spent the week producing songs with guest music producers from Found Sound Nation; some students worked on shooting, editing, and producing music videos with filmmaker Jason Marlow; some students worked on developign advanced photography skills with photographer Bryan MacCormack; and some students worked on preparing for a live radio show with guest radio producers Olivia Williams and Kamal Johnson. The week culminated in a live performance for our friends and family, and a live radio show on WGXC: 90.7-FM!
WEEK 4: WHAT SHOULD HUDSON DO WITH $10 MILLION?
MEETING THE GOVERNOR, GENDER + CONSENT WITH WISEBODIES, TRAVELING TO NYC
During week 4, we went to hear a special announcement from Governor Cuomo, who was in Hudson to announce that Hudson had been awarded $10 million to revitalize part of our downtown. The announcement was met with rousing cheers from most of the audience, but the teens maintained a palpable skepticism. They asked, Who is this money going to benefit? Why can't any of it go to housing? After photographing and recording the announcement, we circled up to talk about how we all felt about the announcement. And we took our recorders out to conduct interviews with people on the streets of Hudson, asking questions about inequality and gentrification in Hudson, and what residents envision for the future of Hudson.
We also dove into questions of consent, sexuality, and gender, with Isa Coffey from WiseBodies. We learned about power and consent, and then broke into groups to talk about our experience of gender in the world: all the ways we feel proud, boxed in, confused, and passionate.
And we traveled to New York City! We checked out the Uprose Youth Climate Justice Summit, and then headed downtown to the High Line Artivist Teen Night, organized by and for teenagers only, themed “A Different World”. (Of course, it wouldn’t have been a real trip to NYC without an excessive amount of walking, eating, and shopping too.) To end the week we teamed up with local artist and film-curator Mike Mosby for a screening and discussion of “The Great Debaters”.
WEEK 5: PROJECT LAB
Week 5 was busy as teens worked in small groups to prepare our final community event: planning and organizing all the details of the event, writing and preparing speeches, choreographing dances, rehearsing songs, producing radio pieces, researching the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and preparing a meal for 150 + of our family, friends, and neighbors!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 10: FINAL EVENT!
Missed the final SJLA celebration and community event? Most of the photos below were taken by Bryan MacCormack of Left in Focus.