EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council by Mai Moore

EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council by Mai Moore Nineteen youth leaders have come together from across the City of Cleveland to combat injustices that youth face. Together they will be choosing […]

EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council by Mai Moore

Nineteen youth leaders have come together from across the City of Cleveland to combat injustices that youth face. Together they will be choosing an area of focus and recommend a solution to the Chief of Cleveland Police, the Commanders, members of the Cleveland Indians, and other youth council partners late Spring, 2018 in partnership with Partnership for Safer Cleveland and thanks to the Cleveland Indians Larry Doby Fund.  The EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council.

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In our first session on November 18, 2017, the youth came together to break down injustices happening in Cleveland –a very complex and wide range, spanning from education to youth suicide, from police brutality to mental illness, and more. Guest speakers from many walks of life showed their support. LaRick Calhoun from 2Excel explained the importance of going outside your comfort zone in this initiative and how to create change. Erica Merritt of Equis and Christen DeVeray of Cleveland Leadership Center discussed taking risks and how change can benefit many. Deandre Sawyer, a Correctional Officer, set an example as a real Cleveland hero who turned his life around. Officer Andino & Officer Wynn of the Cleveland Police Department explained the complexities of being a Cleveland Police Officer.

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The goal of Session #1 was for the youth to pinpoint an injustice area they would like to focus on and consider what is most needed in order to help create positive change for youth in Cleveland.  While I would love to share what they came up with, we’ll wait to see how this transforms over the next couple of months.

 

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When coming into the session, some of the youth were cautious and apprehensive, as many did not know each other nor EYEJ well.  They asked, “Are you really going to listen to us?” and “Is change really going to be made?” Cleveland youth are tired of how things are and the constant negativity they are confronted with. Many of them could not think of an example of positive change that they’ve observed in their communities. However, as I stated in my Social Venture Partners FastPitch 2017 speech, “Our hope that is that YOU help the change they so desperately want to come alive.”  My biggest fear is that these youth will recommend something to Chief Williams and then it will go by the wayside, setting up both our youth yet again for failure and EYEJ as well.

How can we make sure that what they recommend comes to fruition?

Our next session is scheduled for January 2018, in which the youth will start to solution find and build on their recommendation with more guest Change Agent speakers.  This process takes them through the breaking down of injustices to building solutions through short term and long term change by having the support of a diverse set of entities including EYEJ, to media, to sports, to the government, to other non-profit entities, social enterprises come together to help positive change come to fruition.

Mai Moore

Founder & Executive Director of EYEJ

P.S. if you like a Social Justice Warrior t-shirt – you can get it by donating to EYEJ for $25!  Click here.