Ziad Ahmed, a Princeton Day School junior, started redefy, an organization committed to challenging stereotypes (this was also raised as a primary concern among youth panelists at the Unity event described below.) On December 13, 1-5 PM at the Carl Fields Center, Princeton University, redefy will host a program, #TheGenerationofNow. According to the website, the event will feature activists ” speaking on the imperative nature of racial justice. The hope is that the event inspires many teenagers, and community members to become engaged in social justice work.” http://redefy.org/2015/10/28/thegenerationofnow/.
Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi
Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi are Princeton High School juniors, and founders of CHOOSE, an advocacy effort to “overcome racism and inspire harmony through exposure, education, and empowerment.” In their “Engage” program, working with school administrators and faculty, they are organizing the many testimonies they have collected so that teachers can use them in the classroom to bring up the issues of race, racism and racial justice. http://www.princetonchoose.org/#!engage-/c1ctm.
Recently, this blog (http://niotprinceton.org/author/bfiggefox/) reported on the Unity walk and discussion spearheaded by Tatianna Sims, a recent PHS graduate, winner of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations and NiOT 2015 Unity Award. Those of us who have tried to organize anything to bring people together know what it takes. Within a month, this young woman, together with her committee of students, pulled together an event that exemplified her mission of bringing people together to support youth, particularly those who feel disconnected from our community. Over a hundred adults and youth, including political, community, and student leaders of all backgrounds, walked and talked. Adult leaders spoke about their own mentors and also why they thought some students feel disconnected; students spoke about the need to reduce stereotyping and wondered how they could be advocates for their peers. Among the panelists were the first African American Princeton mayor Jim Floyd, in his 90’s, and Princeton High School student leaders at Princeton High School, Joanne Adebayo and Luis Estrada, both past NiOT Unity Award winners. Mayor Lempert announced the imminent establishment of a Youth Commission so that all the voices can be heard in making decisions affecting our community. Mr. Floyd noted that when he was mayor there was a youth member on every township committee. For a glimpse of this event, here is a clip put together by Tatianna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpIEBQwKRKQ.