Last Thursday was a special and exciting moment in the middle school. Fifth, sixth, and seventh graders spent the morning attending workshops conceived and run entirely by eighth graders. Each workshop focused on a different social justice topic - from the freedom of the press to pollution - chosen and researched over many months by the eighth graders themselves. Our keynote speaker, basketball analyst and former player Jay Williams spoke with tenderness and enthusiasm about hard work, humility, leveraging your privilege for good, and even his own tricks for responding to unkindness on social media. Click here
to see the talk.
Taking Pride: Did you know that 92% of LBGTQ+ youth say they receive negative comments about being LGBTQ+? In our workshop we will talk about creating safe spaces for all LGBTQ+ people in and out of school, make “Pride Pins” and a “Garden of Safety.” Come to our workshop and help us create an open and safe environment for all LGBTQ+ youth!
: Teach-In: Half of all coral on the planet has died in the past 30 years! Coral bleaching is a pressing problem with disastrous consequences and few know about it. Coral reefs provide habitats for ocean life, produce oxygen, and more. Choose our workshop to play “Ocean Commotion” and learn how you can help coral survive!
The “Press” is in Distress Do you appreciate the news? Do you care about current events? In our workshop we will discuss the importance of journalism and the First Amendment. Then, we will make our own newspaper and write to journalists in prison who’ve been arrested for speaking out. Get real facts, not fake news!
Education for a Better Nation Having a home is a luxury for many kids in our city. Did you know that 1 in 10 kids in the NYC public schools doesn’t have a stable home? These kids can’t get the most out of their education. Come to our workshop to learn about homelessness and schools and make art that will spread the word about this critical problem.
Maternal Care, Everywhere!
Maternal care means caring for pregnant women. Unfortunately, too many pregnant women, and their unborn babies, lack basic care. Come to our workshop to play a game about this issue, make “mommy packages” for women in need, and write notes for soon-to-be or new mothers.
Playing for ALL How would you feel if you didn’t have sports, recess, or PE in your life? Sports activity is critical for mental and physical health, but too many kids miss out because of economic issues or physical disabilities/differences. Come learn about access to sports and play a game for blind people called Goalball! Then, learn about how you can help!
Policing and Communities: Injustice in the Justice System
Police are supposed to “Protect and Serve”. However, too often people in certain communities are treated unfairly and brutally by police. In our workshop we will explore data and scenarios describing why and how police treatment can be brutal.
The Plastic Pollution Solution Plastic is literally everywhere-- it’s in our waters and even in our bodies. In multiple tests microplastic (tiny bits of plastic) have been found in our organs! Come to our workshop and we will teach you about plastic recycling, you will lobby against plastic overuse, and finally, you will leave with concrete ideas to be part of the plastic pollution solution!
Real Beauty? : Women in Fashion Too many young girls don’t think they are beautiful. Unfortunately, unrealistic images are presented to us by the media and the fashion industry. Want to know why and how this happens? Come to our workshop. We will do a photoshoot, play a fun game of “spot the photoshop” and empower you to be savvy about the fashion industry. Open to ALL genders!
Schools: “Drop-Outs” OR “Push-Outs”?
Every 26 seconds a student in the United States drops out of school. Wait...are they dropping out or getting pushed out? The public school system in New York City does not help all students, as it should. In some cases it harms more than helps. Come to our workshop to learn more , step into the shoes of “push-outs”, and learn about what’s being done to keep kids in school.
The Real Story of Social Media and Teens Social media is everywhere. One billion people use Instagram around the world. In our workshop we will talk about how girls, and their body images, are affected by social media. We will discuss the stereotypical “perfect” body type, how that’s “liked” so much, and how unrealistic it is. We will share stories about “social media diets”, tracking your screen time, and explain how to yourself avoid screen obsession! Open to ALL genders!
“Shut Up and Dribble”: Sports, Athletes and Activism Do you love sports? Did you know that beyond being fun, the history of sports is filled with examples of athletes confronting racism in the U.S.? Come to our workshop to discuss who some of these athletes are, from Althea Gibson to Colin Kaepernick. We will end by making T-shirts in honor of player-activists!!