REEP youth organizers visit Mississippi and Detroit

August 14, 2014

REEP speaking on Grow or Die in Detroit

In June, REEP youth attended two national gatherings to share and learn with organizers from across the country—to Tougaloo, Mississippi, for the 50th Anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the Our Power conference in Detroit on youth power and environmental justice.

In Mississippi, attendees commemorated Freedom Summer by reflecting on the state of racial justice in 1964 and today. The national conference included talks from civil rights organizers including Bob Moses, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and many others who are continuing this work. REEP organizers also participated in canvassing for the National Student Bill of Rights (NSBR), a campaign to build a unified youth vision for educational justice.

“We talked about education issues, food issues, issues that Mississippi, New York, Philly and Boston all deal with,” said REEP Youth Organizer Kenisha Allen. “In a way it makes us all the same, because we’re all coming from the same place.”

In Detroit, REEPers met with youth, students and young adults to discuss how to create a sustainable and just economy. The conference focused on building youth leadership and developing solutions for healthy communities, including a day of canvassing to let residents know about impending water shut-offs and neighborhood resources for affected families. Attendees made and hung a banner over a newly created water station available to everyone dealing with shut-offs.

REEP youth organizers also spoke on a land use panel and shared stories from our Grow or Die campaign, which youth founded after visiting Detroit in 2011 and hearing from community members leading a similar initiative.

“I talked about Boston’s connection to Detroit and starting Grow or Die because of the inspiration from Detroit,” said REEP Youth Organizer Aliyah Stoner. “The struggle’s not just in one place and the stories are not too far off – we’re all deeply connected.”