“What advice can you give us, as adults, when it comes to dealing with you, as young adults, so that we aren’t turned off or discouraged about how you will receive us?”
“Sit down and talk to us. Be more open with us. You don’t have to be too open, but show a little more empathy for us.”
This exchange was typical of the frank discussion between educators and leaders of youth organizations and teens from Urban Underground and Pathfinders, during a “Youth Speakout” session during the 12th Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance of the Kujichagulia Lutheran Center.
Urban Underground is a leadership development organization focusing on youth development, academic enrichment, and civic engagement. Pathfinders helps youth and families in crisis gain control over their lives, connect to others, and become contributors to the community.
“At MPS, we are not even being prepared for college. So what are we there for? Give us a reason to be there,” said teen participant Marquisa Wince, of Urban Underground.
In addition to the quality of Milwaukee Public Schools and the barriers separating teens and their adult teachers and mentors, participants expressed other concerns during the speakout. Among those were the negative portrayal of black youth in the local media, the difficulty teachers have bridging the generation gap with students, how to express respect and how teens like those present might influence other teens who are behaving badly around them.
The Youth Speakout followed two morning workshop sessions that offered five topics taught by area educators and leaders of community organizations. Topics included education and African history and culture.
More than 200 people attended the observance, according to Kujichagulia director Venice Williams. The event was held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 3617 N. 48th St., because the Kujichagulia Lutheran Center is undergoing repairs. It was co-sponsored by SeedFolks Youth Ministry; YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee; Center for Resilient Cities; Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Milwaukee Chapter; and the Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee.
For some, it’s a day of service. For others, it’s a day of reflection. For all of us, it’s a day of unity. Follow the link below to see more stories of organizations and community members in Milwaukee honoring and celebrating the enduring message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
[read the stories]