On Thursday, 4/10/13, Youth Undoing Institutional Racism had the opportunity to meet with some folks called Human Relations, a school-sponsored and city-sponsored youth group based out of Greensboro, North Carolina. Some of the adult mentors, including Monica Walker, are affiliated with the People’s Institute in North Carolina. They were there to attend Seattle’s White Privilege Conference.
The YUIR interns introduced themselves to the group and shared their personal reasons for being a part of YUIR. The Human Relations youth then introduced themselves, and shared their own reasons for being involved in a group that works toward undoing racism. A couple of their thoughts included “I want to figure out how things work so I can change them”, and “what goes unnoticed, I want to make it seen”. YUIR then informed the group about what they’ve achieved so far this year, including Veronica’s position on the Race and Social Justice Roundtable, the letter of support for the teachers boycotting the MAP test, and EPIC (End the Prison Industrial Complex), a collective organizing to develop critical awareness about the juvenile detention center projected for 2015 and propose an alternative action plan. YUIR interns updated the group on the proposed construction, and talked about racial disproportionality in Washington’s criminal justice system. The group then had a discussion about why they thought young people go to jail, and people analyzed the structural and cultural reasons why black and brown youth disproportionately end up encountering the criminal justice system.
After the meeting, YUIR had dinner and debrief the night. The YUIR members shared that it was a great experience for them to meet youth from a different part of the country doing the same work. One YUIR member remarked that he had never been in a room with that many engaged young people. Another member will be attending Davidson College in North Carolina in the fall, and was excited to have the opportunity to meet and connect with people who are doing similar work as YUIR in North Carolina.