For the first time, parents and guardians are invited to the highly popular day of workshops, talks, and music organized by and for Tacoma youth—the 2012 Youth and Family Summit, on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The summit features two workshop tracks—one for youth, another for parents and guardians. The last similar event, the 2010 All City Race & Pedagogy Youth Summit, attracted more than 700 students from middle and high schools to a day of workshops aimed at empowering young people to take charge of their own education and preparing them for leadership in a diverse world. This year organizers hope to build on that empowerment.
“Young people who find themselves on the wrong side of the “achievement gap” are often there because it takes a whole community to create the learning environment needed to achieve academic success,” said Noah Prince, co-chair of the summit. “We want parents and guardians to join us in sharing ideas on how to win this success for our youth.”
Youth keynote speaker Michael Benitez is a highly engaging presenter who integrates hip hop street-sense, academic inquiry, and personal experience into critiques that expose some of the hidden truths involving race, gender, and injustice. Parents and guardians speaker Ed Taylor is a dedicated researcher and teacher focused on diversity and leadership in education, who has written on topics including the achievement gap and critical race theory.
Tacoma schools are being invited to bring busloads of students to the event. Organizers also have extensive outreach underway to parents and guardians in the region. The summit will be an event that inspires, informs, and seeks participants’ input on issues related to enhancing the learning environment and helping youth move on to college and successful careers.
“Our young people in Tacoma are their own best resource for ensuring they each achieve the education and the future they want,” said Dexter Gordon, director of the Race and Pedagogy Initiative at University of Puget Sound. “But we need their families too, if we are to shift this mountain that we call public education and make it equitable and highly effective for all. We know it can be shifted. Let’s get started.”
Participants will engage with educators both to imagine and recognize possibilities for student success. Everyone will be invited to “look at things as if they could be otherwise” and to explore means for inventing the future. Students will be encouraged to form youth groups that will continue to pursue the education and social justice mission.