CGES Street Harassment Youth Summit was a Success!
We planned for 50 middle and high school students to attend this youth led event, but to our surprise 100 students showed up and convened in downtown Brooklyn for the CGES summit. These remarkable students and youth leaders chose to spend the first day of their spring break with us in a variety of workshops that examined street harassment.
In spite of the rain, students began arriving in droves at 10:00 am to register, eat breakfast and mingle. By the beginning of the program, the meeting room was filled beyond capacity and an overflow room had to be set up to accommodate participants.
Throughout the summit, youth leaders from Girls for Gender Equity, Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), Right Rides, Sadie Nash Leadership Project and Girls Inc. emceed, facilitated, and supported their peers in an action packed, thought-provoking day of activities, dialogues and workshops.
The day opened with an enthusiastic welcome by GGE’s Youth Organizer, Nathania Fields and CAE’s Peer Educator, Mercy Carpenter, the emcees for the event. Nathania and Mercy set the tone of the day, encouraging participants to share their thoughts and listen to one other. They then introduced the Host Committee and organizational staff, who discussed the goals and purpose of the event.
The first activity, ‘The Roots of Street Harassment Tree,’ set the stage for in-depth conversations about why street harassment occurs at every level. Participants were divided up into groups of ten and given a large drawn tree. They were asked to fill out the roots of the tree with the roots of Street Harassment and the trunks of the tree with what supports street harassment aka customs, beliefs, attitudes and institutions.
Towards the day’s end, the young people at the youth summit chose to write love letters to the 16-year-old high school rape survivor in Steubenville, Ohio. Unfortunately after the trial against two teen boys that were found guilty in this case, she had been bullied and blamed for their actions. The youth had a deep empathy for what she has been through and wanted her to know how brave an courageous she is.