Community Rights Campaign
CRC Youth travel to Children's Defense Fund Conference
The Community Rights Campaign in Cincinnati
Community Rights member Ezinne Nwankwo writes about her trip to Ohio for the Children's Defense Fund Conference.
Stepping off the plane to this new town, I didn't know what to expect. It was humid and cloudy and I had been tired from the long trip but, immediately I was greeted by a wave of people from all over the United States, black and brown people who were all there for the same purpose. The Children's Defense Fund Conference had brought together more than two thousand people from more than one hundred different social justice organizations to actively discuss the disenfranchisement that youth of color receive. Workshops were held and panels were conducted throughout the conference with prominent speakers each time such as Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Despite a few technical difficulties, the trip turned out to be a very good first trip with the Community Rights Campaign.
Warm greetings from other conference participants begins a packed agenda
Upon arrival, we were thrown into our first meeting with the rest of the participants of the conference. We were warmly greeted and briefed on the basic schedule of the whole event. Everybody seemed excited and ready to dive into the events and discussions that awaited us. First on the agenda was a mini-concert by an all-black, all women music group known as Sweet Honey in the Rock. It was very empowering to see them singing about the movement and the work that we are doing. It just made them even more enjoyable. The next day consisted of panels and mini-discussions with some of the other participants.
In the midst of discussions, the voices of youth missing
The panels were actually very interesting and it was very nice to see black speakers talking about the current problems in America. The only thing that was lacking and needed more of in these discussions were a female's point of view, the point of view of actual community organizers, and voices from the youth. Throughout the panels, there was this reoccurring theme of youth being the key to change. But I think if that were true, then the youth would have been allotted more time to speak than only ten minutes for questions. In the small discussions, a similar situation occurred where the youth voice was still not appreciated.
Conference taught me about my shared history
Overall, the conference was an experience that I value very much. It was nice to be surrounded by black people who understand the movement and want to be a part of it. It was nice to be surrounded by people who want to understand their history and use it to help build a better future. And visiting Cincinnati's Underground Railroad taught me a lot about my shared history as a black person in America. It was an intense process to go through but a necessary one.
About Carla Gonzalez
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