presented by
Columbia University Collaborative for Youth & Family Programs
Join us for a virtual forum for NYC youth to engage in critical dialogue and transformative social action.

Throughout American history, young people have been a vital part of the social movements that have sought to bring our nation closer to realizing its democratic ideals of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, not just for some but for all. Like you, we have been outraged and energized by this unprecedented moment of the colliding pandemics of public health and police violence that have elevated an awareness of the structural and systemic racism and anti-Blackness that pervades our society.

The Columbia University Collaborative of Youth & Family Programs, partnering with other New York City community-based youth serving organizations, brings to you a virtual two-day community youth forum, (Re)imagining & (Re)creating Our World. The purpose of the forum is to engage youth in constructive dialogue about their experiences and feelings, and to help them move their ideas for change into action plans. This forum will emphasize recuperation by providing a recuperation session focused on mindfulness activities.

This forum is for youth ages 13-19 years old.
A Virtual Forum
Date & Time
Jan. 29th, 4PM-6:30PM EST
Jan. 30th, 10AM-2PM, EST
Contact: kecia hayes ([email protected]); Alissa Mayers ([email protected])
Speakers & Facilitators
Jarrell E. Daniels
Program Manager, Justice Ambassadors Youth Council, Columbia University
Plenary Speaker
José A. Lora
Nonprofit Professional
Youth programming, holistic mentorship, organizing and social justice-based education
Simone Gamble
Jeremy Zimmerman
Program coordinator
America Reads, Community Impact at Columbia University
Ashley Stephenson
Joshua Muhammad
Julia L. Davis
Director of Youth Justice and Child Welfare
Children's Defense Fund-NY
Melissa Clarke
Youth Justice and Child Welfare Policy Associate
Children's Defense Fund-NY
Friday, January 29
4:00 pM
Welcome: An Introduction to (Re)imagining & (Re)creating Our World 
Welcome & Introduction: Dr. kecia hayes, Executive Director, The Double Discovery Center, Columbia University
Setting the stage & Call to Action
4:10 pM
Plenary Speaker
Jarrell Daniels, Research Assistant Center for Justice, Columbia University
SIM|ED Fellow
Jarrell E. Daniels is the Program Manager of the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council at Columbia University, where his main focus is on understanding how mass incarceration and criminalization impact minority communities. He is particularly interested in working with others in academia, government, civil society and affected communities to create a new vision for criminal justice and ultimately shape policies that help individuals, families and communities thrive. Jarrell is also a Rene Plessner Fellow in the School of General Studies.
4:25 pM
Attendees move into Sessions
4:30 pM
Concurrent workshops begin

Session 1: Self-Care through Mind, Body & Spirit (Facilitators: José Lora & Simone Gamble, The Brotherhood-SisterSol affiliates) THIS SESSION IS AT CAPACITY
Expressions of Self-Care in a Time of Outrage: Make meaning of Audre Lorde’s quote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,” by exploring the intersection of social justice and artistic expression such as art, music, poetry/spoken word, theatre, hip hop, dance, etc.

Session 2: Reflection: Art As Activism (Facilitator: Aubrey Lynch II, Harlem School of The Arts)
Former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and former original cast and Associate Producer of Disney’s The Lion King, Aubrey Lynch II explores art as activism, education as social justice and the responsibility young people have to know their ancestry, understand their community and impact the world. Through an engaging discussion, slideshow, performance demonstrations and movement for participants, Art as Activism evokes curiosity about our current social environment and a reevaluation of our place in the world.
5:30 pM
Concurrent workshops end
5:35 pM
Invitation to recuperation session
Thank you + Day Two preview
5:45 pM
Recuperation session begins
Guided mindfulness + social emotional activities
6:15 pM
Recuperation session ends
6:20 pM
Closeout...See you tomorrow!
Saturday, January 30
10:00 AM
Welcome: An Introduction to (Re)imagining & (Re)creating Our World 
Welcome Back: Alissa Mayers, Public Programs Manager, Zuckerman Institute, Columbia University
10:10 AM
Attendees move into Sessions
10:15 AM
Concurrent workshops begin

Session 1: COVID Reimagined (Facilitators: Ashley Stephenson & Joshua Muhammad, International Youth Leadership Institute)
The purpose of this workshop is to encourage students to explore their innate ability to not only problem-solve but thrive in a changing environment, most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic. This workshop will be a safe space for students to share and learn from each other’s individual experiences and identify coping strategies and mechanisms. We will buttress this conversation by discussing coping solutions and adaptiveness on a broader level, highlighting communities, businesses, and organizations that have been successful despite enforced limitations.

Session 2: Expanding Youth Justice (Facilitators: Julia Davis & Melissa Clarke, The Children's Defense Fund-NY)
The purpose of this workshop is to frame the current state of youth justice reform in New York, and find concrete ways for young people interested in the issue to participate in advocacy for change. Young people will leave with information about youth justice in NY, the concept of Emerging Adulthood as a framework, the current state of legislative reforms, ongoing advocacy efforts, opportunities for participation and engagement, and a social media post, created with the facilitators, created by them, on the issue of youth justice.

Session 3: Our Unchanging Educational System (Facilitators: Jeremy Zimmerman & Aeja Rosette, America Reads, Columbia University)
This workshop will focus on the underlying issues in the current educational system and emphasize that the issues within the system do not result from individual success or failure but rather from long-standing systemic issues within public education.
11:15 AM
Concurrent workshops end
11:15-11:30 AM
Grab a snack & come back!
11:30-11:40 AM
Participants determine their planning groups
Participants will determine how to convene with their peers before moving into action planning.

This is a time to align yourself with your peers to work on a plan of action. 
11:40 AM
Action Planning Session 1
Facilitated Action Planning

Develop a community-based action plan in groups with your peers
12:45 pM
Action Planning Session 2
Facilitated Action Planning

Develop a community-based action plan in groups with your peers
1:50 pM
More about ...
Jarrell Daniels - Plenary Speaker

Jarrell is a Friends of the Island Youth Leadership peer mentor and a member of the 2018 Justice-In-Education Scholars cohort at Columbia University. Since his release from prison, he has become a sought after speaker on college campuses, where he has shared the experiences that led to his incarceration and that of others from similar communities. Through his work with the community, he offers disciplined advice for at risk and troubled teens re-emerging from Rikers Island and juvenile detention centers throughout NYC.

José A. Lora - Facilitator

A nonprofit professional with over 15 years experience in youth programming, holistic mentorship, organizing and social justice-based education across the US and internationally. His passion is engaging community members from all walks of life to learn how we can all build with each other to make life better for us all. José is aiming to utilize what he's learned from direct youth and community organizing into helping shape and advocate for policy that can benefit young people in particular, and the community at large, from a systemic platform. José was born and raised in NYC (Uptown to be exact), is married and has an almost-2-year-old son.
Simone Gamble - Facilitator

Simone Gamble is a community organizer who resides with roots in the South Bronx. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Hunter College with a focus on Secondary Education and History and later Social Work and Community Organizing.
She has interned and worked at various youth organizations throughout NYC, focusing on various social justice issues including immigration rights, police accountability, education funding inequity, and the school to prison pipeline.
Simone is also an independent consultant leading workshops with a myriad of nonprofits, schools, camps, and after school programs centered in youth work around the issue of safer spaces for people of color with an intersectional, anti-oppressive lens. She has spoken at conferences and privately consulted with organizations around radical curriculum and facilitation.
Currently she is an Adjunct Professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter college teaching the Practice Lab Course for Social Work Graduate students.
Jeremy Zimmerman - Facilitator

Hello my name is Jeremy Zimmerman and I'm a senior at the Sustainable Development at the Earth Institute at Columbia. I am originally from Lancaster, PA and have previously studied Political Humanities in France. Currently I lead the university's America Reads tutoring program and am a part of the educational outreach team at the Center for Sustainable Development. With these roles I am incredibly passionate about the power of education and the role schools and other institutions play in our society and how we can use education as a tool for empowerment and justice.
Joshua Muhammad - Facilitator

Joshua Muhammad is finishing his first year at SUNY Polytechnic Institute of Technology, where he is majoring in Computer Engineering Technology. Growing up, Joshua always had an affinity for all things technology; this early attachment ultimately influenced his future career decision. Joshua managed many IT projects in high school and was lauded for his savviness and quick problem-solving abilities. From these experiences, he learned the value of consistency, discipline, and dependability. In the future, he hopes to become a freelance computer technician and develop his own computer hardware. Joshua is an avid music listener, and he has been playing the violin since the age of 8.
Ashley Stephenson - Facilitator

Ashley Stephenson is from the Bronx, NY. She is currently a senior at St. John Baptiste high school and outside of her academic career she enjoys cooking, singing, and writing. She plans to pursue a future in nursing and continue to engage in her community in the medical sector. Since 2019 she has been an IYLI fellow, and fulfilled her passion of studying abroad in Senegal. 
Julia L. Davis - Facilitator

Julia L. Davis is the Director of Youth Justice and Child Welfare, Children's Defense Fund-New York. She has spent two decades advocating for vulnerable children through civil rights litigation and public policy advocacy. At CDF, she works to advance reforms that support communities where children and youth can grow and thrive, through City and State advocacy to reduce youth contact with the justice and child welfare systems, and support young people on their journey to adulthood. She received her A.B. from Brown University and her law degree from Cardozo School of Law.
Melissa Clarke - Facilitator

Melissa Clarke is the Youth Justice and Child Welfare Policy Associate, Children's Defense Fund-New York. She has spent the last five years dedicated to systemic change and advocating for vulnerable populations across New York City. Most recently, Ms. Clarke worked at New York City Charter School Center where she worked towards building community and political support in order for charter schools to flourish in the communities that needed access to high quality schools. Melissa received her B.A in Political Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her Masters of Science in Social Work where she focused her work on public policy and contemporary social issues.

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