Following Their Lead: Youth In Action • Citizen University • BRAVE NEW FILMS

Following Their Lead: Youth In Action • Citizen University • BRAVE NEW FILMS


The Youth Power Project is a program set up by an organization called
Citizen University. Citizen University It’s all these students coming together Youth across the country. It’s the opportunity for us as youth to take
advantage of our civic powers. To help us learn our own power where power comes from how we should direct it. That helps give us the tools to get more involved. My name is Ethereal Reyes. I’m 16 years old. I’m a young Filipina girl. I’m interested in ending racism as my youth
power project. So, I have seen it throughout my entire life
and I just personally feel like it’s the biggest problem in America. I’m Ashanti. I am 16 years old. At my school, I’m a Metco student, so I’ve
started this Weston Metco Scholars. Metco is just minority students that are from
the inner city that get taken to the suburbs for better school opportunities and education. And we shouldn’t feel discouraged from stepping
up just because we are a minority. I’m Maliha Yousuf. I’m 16. My dad is Pakistani and my mom is white so
I’m a mixed kid. I’m doing Muslim awareness and acceptance. I feel like there’s not necessarily hate. It’s just a lot of like ignorance. My name is Jaden Deal and I’m 17. Striving for equality. What’s fair for all groups and what’s fair
for, say, me as a gay youth, being able to go into school and feel safe. I’m Ghabel Bell and I’m 16. I started a drive called Aunt Flo’s Drive
which collects pads and tampons and other feminine products for the homeless women in
the shelters. There are just so many homeless people everywhere
I see them and they’re just out here without any help. Pads and tampons are just like the least donated
items for shelters so when they are donated people are really grateful. Citizen University let us choose our own project
to teach us the civic power that we possess and help us raise awareness on social issues
that are meaningful to us. And I did this by creating a documentary about
colorism and beauty standards. My film is a 10-minute short film. It’s a documentary. It’s from the narratives of six different
girls. It talks about their struggles as youth
with the ideas of colorism and beauty standards. It’s called Success Looks Like Me. So, we’ve been talking with women that are
in certain positions, go to the middle schools and like the elementary schools and kind of
start to encourage like the younger girls that like it’s OK that this is not what’s
typically seen like you can still do this. So, we took a less confrontational approach
to bullying. We did a positivity campaign. We ordered a bunch of stickers that said safe
space. We actually went to a teacher meeting, handed
out the stickers, and said If you want students to know that this is a safe place, tape this
up to the window outside your door and the next day we actually ran out of stickers so
we had to make another order. Our goal was that as long as we were affecting
at least one person, then it was a success. What youth can bring to the table is you can
collaborate well in hearing out each other, understanding one another from each other’s
like different experiences. My work with the youth power project has taught
me that I’m capable of more than I thought I was. If you really believe what you’re doing then
anything can be possible. It’s helped me realize that I don’t need to
wait to get an education, to go to college, to do something and to make a difference. Experience is experience. So, age doesn’t it matter or shouldn’t validate
or invalidate it. There’s all these students that have the great
potential to become a leader, to be able to exact change. Don’t ignore those students.

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