Love and Racial Justice Youth Leadership Initiative

This month Arete is launching a Youth Leadership Initiative integrating the topics of Love and Racial Justice.

What does love have to do with racial justice?
Can understanding the dynamics of love lead towards racial justice?

When prompted, many of us can list all of the injustices that racism has caused in our society. However, can we discuss what it would look like if racial justice was achieved?

Discussions of love as a force of healing are often neglected in talks about racial justice. Research has proven that love is a powerful force of healing in the body and has a positive outcome on the lives of people who experience love.

Starting November 12, 2020, we are inviting our student and alumni leaders to join a year-long study on these topics. Monthly hour-long sessions (5 pm on Thursdays) will provide spaces for youth to engage with expert coach and facilitator, Dr. Maria Akinyele, who is serving as Arete’s Coach in residency this academic year. She has designed a six-part series of workshops, where youth leaders will explore conceptions of love as a pathway for imagining and achieving racial justice.

Our your leaders will:

  • Develop an awareness of self-love and your love identity.
  • Explore different understandings of love as a feeling and as an action.
  • Understand the role of love in racial justice work
  • Explore protocols to engage in racial healing conversations amongst staff and students.
  • Engage in love study of yourself, others and society.
  • Explore visions and models of racial justice
  • Develop equity stances and statements that promote racially just school environments

Beginning in February 2020, our youth leaders will begin working with Dr. Maria to design bilingual family workshops on the topics they are exploring in their work and offer those sessions in English and Spanish for all families in our school community.

This youth leadership team will also begin working as professional learning facilitators in Arete Forum sessions as all staff across the organization follow the lead of our youth leaders and delve into the topics and learning activities presented in the 6-part workshop series. Our youth leaders will be co-facilitators during those professional learning sessions.

At the end of the youth leadership initiative, we will have 8 certified youth leaders on the topic of racial justice and love, having gained 25 hours of learning and coaching. We look forward to the new community learning initiatives and service projects that come forward through this focused work over the year.

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