The third annual Youth Conference on Race & Social Justice, sponsored by SURJ South County, will take place virtually from 10am to 2pm Sept. 25, 10-2 p.m., via Zoom. There is also a parallel adult conference.
According to a press release from SURJ South County, the free conference, for youth 11 to 18, brings speakers together to discuss important topics related to racial justice and social awareness, with the goal of reaching the people who can make the greatest difference, now and in the future: the youth.
Speakers include community leader and activist LaToya Fernandez, Courtney Magnus of CAIR, Kathy Chavez Napoli of the Morgan Hill Historical Society, Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan, and more. Topics include youth activism, exploring identity, standing up for Black lives, looking at history’s truths and lies, unpacking white privilege, understanding microaggressions, youth justice system reform, breaking cycles and the intersection of queerness and race.
Matthew Fitch, a sophomore at GECA, and a past participant, says, “My experience with the SURJ conference was an eye-opening and healthy expansion of my perceived world to see the experiences of people of color and their individual struggles. As a member of the LGBT+ community, it is a great experience to participate in the SURJ conference because it is a judgment free zone where I can learn how to be a good ally to other marginalized communities.”
Kulvinder “Kay” Arora, a SURJ South County member adds, “From writing about identity, creating spoken word, and learning self defense, our youth took an active part in shaping their future in a more just world. I was so happy to see teachers, community leaders and parents all come together to work with youth in creative ways.”
For many SURJ members, such as founding member Suman Ganapathy, “Seeing our younger generation taking the time to get trained during a weekend to make the world a better, more equitable place, always makes me feel hopeful for our world,” she says.
SURJ South County (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a local group of individuals organizing people for racial justice. Through community organization, mobilization, and education, SURJ South County works with people within the South Bay and across the country to support and collaborate with racial justice organizing efforts.