Alliance Youth Leadership Summit Recap
Avery (he, him, his) is a Youth Committee Member.
Alliance: What were your thoughts about the Summit?
Avery: This summit was my first and it was wonderful! I thought it went incredibly well with many equally as incredible people. The workshops I facilitated and went to were educational and fun.
Alliance: How much planning goes into preparing for the Summit?
Avery: The Youth Committee has been meeting almost weekly for the past two months planning this. We make a rough estimate of the schedule and how long everything will last. Then we look of the curriculum and decide differs workshops that should be included and who will do them. Through collaboration, we plan weeks ahead for the information in the curriculums.
Alliance: Why was it important to have the Summit outside of Chicago?
Avery: The Illinois Safe School Alliance has never had any summits in Springfield before. This allows better access to some people who have never been able to attend summits before. It also can spread where the Alliance can reach. Having resources like these should be accessible everywhere in Illinois and having the summit not in Chicago helps that idea.
Alliance: Can you talk about the Day of Silence Curriculum? How was it created and How do you envision schools using it?
Avery: The Day Of Silence curriculum revolves around the idea of our identities and silencing identities. We ask within the curriculum about identities and if they are silenced in their daily life, school, work, etc. It was created by just asking ourselves as queer individuals how we are silenced. Queer people have been silenced since, what seems like, the beginning of time. We want to get schools to talk about silent identities like many queer identities. Many schools don't ever mention queer history or queer health. We hope that they can learn the importance of teaching these things.
Alliance: The sessions were all so relevant and amazing, was it difficult to decide what sessions would be chosen?
Avery: It is always hard to pick and choose what workshops would be best. There are so many good ideas but we always have to remember to teach the ones are most relevant to the main curriculum.
Alliance: What do you think makes the Summit so successful?
Avery: It is an amazing experience to have an opportunity like this where people can educate others about queer topics. Queer education is talked about so little it is very refreshing and eye opening to have an entire day devoted to that. It is also a place of safety and comfortability because many queer people do not have places to be completely safe from judgements on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Summits are safe places with many resources that many people don't usually have access to.
Alliance: How does it work to be in a space with adults and youth?
Avery: Every space is open to anyone at anytime but, we try and have workshops that are specifically for adults or specifically for youth. Usually these workshops change for different age groups so that they have different topics more relevant to one age group than the other.
Alliance: What is the youth committees goal or hope for the Day of Silence, since having the summit?
Avery: We hope that the Day of Silence will be a day of action as a day of remembrance. We hope that the message of the Day of Silence go on to days before and after the specific day and be something we talk about much more than it is.