As you may know, the week of February 8 – 12 was designated by the DOE as Respect For All Week. In recognition of Respect For All, on Wednesday February 10th and Thursday February 11th, Peer Leaders from RAPP, MOST, and buildOn facilitated assemblies for approximately 100 students.
The Peer Leaders of buildOn and the Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) were proud to present the 1st annual Young Women’s Empowerment Assembly, with the goals of self and peer empowerment, building sisterhood, increasing compassion, and uplifting one another. They discussed ways we can we relate that promote a safe, inclusive, positive learning environment, while also addressing some of the obstacles that get in our way. Peer Leaders invited guests from Brotherhood/Sister Sol and STEPS to End Family Violence to engage in dialogue about a healthier, non-violent model of womanhood, and explored ways to minimize, and ultimately end, girl-on-girl violence, while uplifting our sense of self worth. Much thanks and appreciation to Rene Wells, Iemanie Stokes, Nafeesa Rahman, Andrea Morales Arauz, Amaya Costley, Chasare Allen, Heidy Mota, and Cameron Cannon for all of their hard work in putting this event together.
Following the assembly, some of the young women shared what they learned –
“I would like to share that it’s okay to be different.”
“That women should think better about ourselves and shouldn’t let society judge us.”
“We should be unified.”
“I have learned that everyone has put themselves down, even if they seem confident. We can rely on other people. Even though I smile, I can feel pain and I can help if people need help.”
“We should have more of these meetings, to strengthen community.”
“Breaking stereotypes and having the guts to stick out and be real.”
“Be kind to others.”
“I would like to share that everyone should be always be mindful of others feelings and try to be nice because believe it or not, many people are fighting their own battles and every thought counts.”
“You should learn to love yourself, because it will allow you to find your true self. You have the capability to change and to make improvements to create a better you.”
“You should love yourself no matter what society says.”
The Peer Leaders of buildOn, the Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP), and the Men of Strength (MOST) Club are proud to present the 1st annual Young Men’s Empowerment Assembly, with the goals of self and peer empowerment, building brotherhood, understanding what “healthy masculinity” is, and uplifting one another. They discussed ways we can we relate that promote a safe, inclusive, positive learning environment, while also addressing some of the obstacles that get in our way. Peer Leaders and invited guests engaged in dialogue about a healthier, non-violent model of manhood. Through discussion on manhood, brotherhood, and fatherhood, they explored ways to minimize, and ultimately end, interpersonal violence, while uplifting our sense of self worth. Much thanks and appreciation to the Men of Strength, Michael Gibbs, Kyreek Milton, Rashane Fernando, Brian Hill, Michael Hill, Earnest Johnson, Trimane Plummer, Austin Yarfi, Stephen Sarfo, and Majeed Sodunke for all of their hard work putting this event together.
In addition to serving to empower and uplift each other in a non-judgmental safe space, the assemblies additional aim was to allow students that attended to receive 3 hours of community service through buildOn. buildOn is a nonprofit organization that engages young people to be leaders in their own community through service and education, locally and internationally. The share-out was aimed at continuing the dialogue outside of the assembly and to reach peers that were not able to attend.
We were thrilled to have noted author/activist Kevin Powell and Truman’s own Albery Abreu, class of 2007 take part in this incredibly meaningful assembly. Kevin shared that the young men of Truman “were all the way live, brilliant, funny, mad real, mad raw, and at the end of it all, open-minded.” Seeing the way the young men gravitated towards our guests to talk more shows how much they crave this kind of dialogue.