October 27, 2021

A BIPOC Youth Solidarity Series Q+A with Des and Lanea

2021 BIPOC Youth Solidarity Series – For APANO’s first hybrid summer program, this four day workshop style series explored the intersections of identity, oppression, privilege, and power. Joined by guest speakers, young BIPOC folks between the ages of 14 and 19 engaged in activities + dialogue with peers in the community. In addition to virtual programming, the fourth and final day included an in-person celebratory outdoor picnic.

Q: Hi Des and Lanea. Thanks for sharing with us about the BIPOC Youth Solidarity Series. Our first question is, what inspired you both to create this series?

A: This series was intended to be a reflection of the values and learnings that are most crucial in community care. We wanted to create a solidarity series for youth to cultivate space to learn, grow, and be in community with each other in ways that were both transformational and enjoyable.

Q: That’s great, can you tell us about the series so far? What issues or topics did you focus on?

A: Over the course of three days, BYSS explored identity, history, accountability, and solidarity. We had four wonderful guest speakers, as well as interactive activities and videos to supplement the learning. We made it a priority to highlight the omnipresence of anti-Blackness and white supremacy, and equip youth with language and strategy to actively combat it.

Q: Now that the events are wrapped up, what reflections do you both have on the series and on how the youth were able to be engaged?

A: This years cohort was made up of eight lovely youth, who were all thrilled to listen, learn, and grow alongside each other. Due to the delta variant, we held our educational sessions online, but were fortunate enough to hold a celebratory picnic in person. This hybrid model worked out surprisingly well, and is something we are strongly considering integrating annually.

Q: What has been your favorite part of the series so far?

A: Our favorite part of the series was watching community form in front of us. By the end of the third day, we all had individual and collective relationships and memories with each other to build off of, which made the fourth day in person seamless and fun. It is always rewarding to bring folx into a space to then watch them thrive in it.

Q: What are you looking forward to more of in the future for youth organizing?

A: In the future, we look forward to creating more intentional spaces for youth to gather and exist with each other. The pandemic has really reinforced how crucial it is to create dialogue and relationship with each other, and this series is one of several ways in which we can sustain that.

Well said. Thanks so much for your time Des and Lanea! Where can members go to find more info?

A: For more info on our Youth Organizing programs follow @ally.pdx on instagram!

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.