This Week: Urban Arts Students and City Council Members Stand Together at Youth Led Press Conference
The Youth Leadership Network (a collaboration between The Academy and LatinoJustice PRLDEF) organized and led a press conference that drew City Council Members, media, and over 100 young people from other youth activist organizations in New York City.
The students utilized the skills they have been developing in their rigorous leadership curriculum to plan “Youth Pack the Courts Day” on April 1st. The event coincided with the hearing of federal class action lawsuit Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, which challenges the practice of “stop of frisk” without probable cause. Urban Arts Partnership youth were the leading voices representing their peers in this continued dialogue. Students from the Academy and youth from throughout the city shared their personal stories of stops that they consider violations of their civil rights. City Council Members Margaret Chin, Robert Jackson, Melissa Mark Viverito, and Jumaane Williams joined the press conference to applaud the students for being engaged members and leaders of their community. As Councilman Williams said, “There is no real social change on this planet that happened without young people involved.”
To prepare for the press conference, the Youth Leadership Network participated in a full day of media training. They also launched a social media advocacy campaign, “More Than A Quota,” with the goals of educating their peers about their rights, as well as empower and engage them to join their movement.