CA Youth Organizers Stay Connected Over the Summer

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This summer was an exciting time for the CA’s youth organizers. Graduates of the Each One, Teach One (EOTO) youth leadership and advocacy training program learned activism through art, creating a photo documentary and, with help from DreamYard, a Bronx-based arts organization, co-wrote and performed a play dealing with issues related to the juvenile justice system. In addition to the arts component, called “EOTO Artists’ Camp,” youth organizers attended “EOTO Thinkers’ Camp,” where they delivered high energy, interactive workshops to other youth programs.

Recent graduates from Safe Passages, the CA’s leadership and organizing program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth affected by incarceration, also put their knowledge to work. They led six anti-homophobia trainings for youth in aftercare and alternative-to-incarceration programs and at other community-based organizations serving court-involved youth. Working with an NYU film student volunteer, five Safe Passages youth organizers also created a public service announcement promoting tolerance and connecting homophobia to other forms of discrimination. The resulting PSA, entitled “Chain of Oppression,” will serve as a catalyst for discussion in future anti-homophobia workshops.

In August, EOTO Youth Coordinator Asadullah Muhammad, EOTO alum Thomas Mims, and CUNY law student Angelo Pinto concluded a 6-week youth development workshop series for twenty-five 16- to 18-year-olds incarcerated at Rikers. Workshops ranged from “Growing Up Poor: Understanding Poverty” to “Jail Is Not a Rite of Passage: Building for Adulthood,” and were adapted from the EOTO curriculum.

Summer youth activities offer a valuable way for the CA’s youth organizers to build community, gain new skills and reach out to other youth while remaining connected with the program and the CA’s ongoing advocacy activities. As both programs’ fall training cycles get underway, the CA and our new organizers-in-training have much to look forward to, with a full schedule of hands-on advocacy and leadership workshops ahead.