Guest blogpost by YO S.O.S. Intern, Deidra Dunkley
On June 17, 2015 I joined Brooklyn Independent Media in an amazing Town Hall Meeting titled, “Youth #BHeard: Fighting for a Voice.” It was mainly focused around urban youths and violence. There were over 100 people in the audience including many youth from YO S.O.S. The featured panelists were Nadia Lopez (Principal, Mott Hall Bridges Academy), Ebro Darden (AM Host, HOT 97 FM), Jaritza Geigel (Make the Road NY), Marlon Peterson (Criminal Justice Advocate and YO S.O.S. Co-Founder), and Juan Thompson (Journalist, The Intercept). The youth leaders were Aisha Wright (YO S.O.S.), Kenneth Champion (Reel Works), Cristal Maria (Millennium High School), and Daury Quiroz (El Puente). In addition to the panelists, the event also included a screening of this video featuring five YO S.O.S. alums. I personally found this meeting highly interesting, from the the educated responses from the panelists, to the reactions from the youth leaders, to how much the audience was involved.
While everyone made an outstanding contribution to the discussion, someone who stood out to me the most was Nadia Lopez, the principal at Mott Hall and her contributions on the way we can change the ways youths are viewed in society. One of her quotes that caught my attention was, “In order for you to control the narrative, you have to control the content.” Hearing this quote, the first thing that came to mind was that the things that go on around us cannot be changed or controlled unless we change ourselves and control our behaviors. Also, by becoming a part of the media ourselves as journalists, djs, artists, or writers for example, we can make sure that our stories are told in the way we want
Attending this town hall has made me realize that the voices of our youth aren’t being heard enough and one step towards fixing this problem would be for adults to stop underestimating children. I am truly grateful to have gotten the opportunity to take part in this town hall and I hope that you all can join in on the discussion next time.