I AM CHANGE: A Youth Empowerment Workshop

I AM CHANGE: A Youth Empowerment Workshop

During the Indy Festival of Faiths, the Desmond Tutu Center teamed up with the Center For Interfaith Cooperation, the Peace Learning Center, the Marion County Commission on Youth, and Youth Power Indiana to offer an exciting and insightful workshop that not only inspired youth through presentations by Congressman André Carson and local empowerment voice, Tony Styxx, but also showcased how young Indianapolis-area leaders are equipped with the talent, diversity, and activism to bring about positive change where we live. The workshop focused on the basics of organizing and activism in the setting of the Festival of Faiths, which served to bring youth together from diverse faiths and backgrounds to find common causes they care about.

Congressman André Carson kicked off the event with an interactive presentation demonstrating how in order to be an intelligent advocate for issues one cares about, one must first understand how to work within the system to effect change. Asking for volunteers from the audience to serve as Senators and Congressman who all had differing special interests to advocate for, he was able to show how a bill becomes a law. This exercise highlighted how competing interests by politicians require a great deal of compromise. He emphasized that citizens in a democratic society have a duty to be engaged in the legislative process by communicating our concerns with people in office.

Building on Congressman Carson, Tony Styxx shared a powerful narrative on what it means to be civically engaged and how technology needs to be harnessed intelligently in order to bring people together rather than keep them isolated. Finally, youth broke into small groups led by local young leaders that gave the youth an opportunity to connect and engage with one another by talking through issues they care about.

These workshops highlighted how our youth have incredible power to make positive changes and are highly motivated to direct their efforts towards effective action. Just like community issues are relevant to us, community issues are relevant to them and they have the passion and foresight to bring about change. We enjoyed learning with and from our participants and are looking forward to engaging them in continuing conversations. As DTC Administrative Director, Waseema Ali stated in her opening remarks, “the youth are not just the future, they are the present and their voice can make a difference today.” If you would like to sign up for the DTC Youth Network, click HERE.


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