WOW. Here at I Am Why we just finished a 13-week virtual curriculum for young people in Minneapolis—and it was amazing! We partnered with the Enough program at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities to develop a new activism pathway to grow and strengthen activists through workshops, mentoring relationships, art-making and targeted coaching. The pathway culminated with the young activists creating an activism project tied to their vision for change and local community.
A big part of this work was our model of peer and intergenerational mentorship and coaching. Nested layers of support enabled us to build and support the activism skills of the emerging activists in Minneapolis, strengthen the leadership skills of our own young consultants, and provide opportunities for some of our most experienced young consultants to take their leadership to the next level. Aliyah, Cherrish, Jazmine, La’Nesha, and Samione rocked it as mentors for the young people in Minneapolis, and coaches Lina and Michelle showed us once again how to lead with strength, compassion and grace.
This partnership also gave us the chance to develop a customizable workshop series that weaves together art-making, writing, relationship-building, restorative practice and policy to strengthen youth voice and nurture connections. These workshops were all virtual—not our ideal space—but that didn’t stop us from making real connections and feeling our collective power.
This work had particularly profound meaning for us at I Am Why. It was humbling to work with young community leaders in Minneapolis so soon after George Floyd’s murder, and to see and support their passion and vision for justice in their community amidst such pain and anger. Thank you for inviting us in.
HUGE shoutout to Sophia Maceda, life coach at the YMCA, who connected us with the young leaders who participated and was a truly amazing partner. And Jun, Kayla, Lanesha, Lanna, Meriem—we can’t wait to see what incredible work you do as activists and leaders for change in your community, and warmly welcome you into the I Am Why community!!
-Annie, I Am Why consultant/advisor