Wheelock College Youth Symposium

Interested in Attending?

If you are interested in bringing your students to Youth Speak | The Politics of Race + Gender + Equity, please complete our online Interest Form.

Coming April 26, 2016

Youth Speak | The Politics of Race + Gender + Equity

Wheelock's Youth Symposium offers an opportunity for young people to contribute to an ongoing dialogue via three convenings: Pre-Symposium Planning Session (to determine "hot issues" in the community to be further explored at the Youth Symposium), the Youth Symposium, and the Post Symposium Talk-Back (to share recommendations with community leadership.

The impact of the work is:

  • To open space for youth to take leadership over the issues that impact them directly and drive the conversations around the topics that matter to them.
  • To open public dialogue about Black and Latino male identity.
  • To open space in Boston and in the public consciousness for Black and Latino males to play new and expansive roles in the city.
  • To begin to shift the narrative about identity among Black and Latino males, provoking all of Boston to see them as fully-fledged members of our communities.
  • To engage women and girls of color whose personal narratives can help shape the agenda of the movement.

The centerpiece of the event is a high-energy, daylong conference that brings together several hundred middle and high school students from public, private, pilot, and charter schools in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge to discuss leadership, mentoring, and self-respect.

The Symposium feature a specially developed curriculum that all students complete before attending. In addition to expanding horizons for the students who attend, the previous symposiums resulted in the foundation of SPARK the Truth, a student-created and student-run organization that has worked with Wheelock's Pre-Collegiate Office to bring nearly 5,000 young people to events on the Wheelock Campus that focus on leadership development, mentoring, social justice, academic support, coursework, and college success planning. Members of SPARK the Truth were also an integral part of planning for the 2010 Youth Symposium.

2010 Event Featured Award Winning Actor/Author Hill Harper

The 2010 Youth Symposium, titled "Bridges to Our Future: The Next Generation of Leaders," was led by award-winning actor and best-selling author Hill Harper and legal scholar Charles Ogletree. Harper told students attending the Symposium to seek out people who will support their goals and dreams, such as teachers, family members, or other mentors. "No one gets there on their own," he said.

Learn more about the 2010 event

2007 Event Brought Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu

The 2007 Youth Symposium, titled "Bridges to Hope and Understanding: Exploring Truth and Reconciliation," was led by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and featured an address by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Learn more about the 2007 event

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