CGES Street Harassment Youth Summit was a Success!

The Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools (CGES) held a Youth Summit on Street Harassment on March 25, 2013 at the Urban Assembly Institute that exceeded our highest expectations!

We planned for 50 middle and high school students to attend this youth led event, but to our surprise 100 students showed up and convened in downtown Brooklyn for the CGES summit. These remarkable students and youth leaders chose to spend the first day of their spring break with us in a variety of workshops that examined street harassment.

In spite of the rain, students began arriving in droves at 10:00 am to register, eat breakfast and mingle. By the beginning of the program, the meeting room was filled beyond capacity and an overflow room had to be set up to accommodate participants.

Throughout the summit, youth leaders from Girls for Gender Equity, Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), Right Rides, Sadie Nash Leadership Project and Girls Inc. emceed, facilitated, and supported their peers in an action packed, thought-provoking day of activities, dialogues and workshops.

The day opened with an enthusiastic welcome by GGE’s Youth Organizer, Nathania Fields and CAE’s Peer Educator, Mercy Carpenter, the emcees for the event. Nathania and Mercy set the tone of the day, encouraging participants to share their thoughts and listen to one other. They then introduced the Host Committee and organizational staff, who discussed the goals and purpose of the event.

The first activity, ‘The Roots of Street Harassment Tree,’ set the stage for in-depth conversations about why street harassment occurs at every level. Participants were divided up into groups of ten and given a large drawn tree. They were asked to fill out the roots of the tree with the roots of Street Harassment and the trunks of the tree with what supports street harassment aka customs, beliefs, attitudes and institutions.

The Roots of Street Harassment Tree

Towards the day’s end, the young people at the youth summit chose to write love letters to the 16-year-old high school rape survivor in Steubenville, Ohio. Unfortunately after the trial against two teen boys that were found guilty in this case, she had been bullied and blamed for their actions. The youth had a deep empathy for what she has been through and wanted her to know how brave an courageous she is.

The last activity of the day invited the young people to sign up for different events presented at a row of ‘Action Booths’ that lined the hallway outside the meeting room. All of these events prepared us for April Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Anti-Street Harassment Rally on Saturday, April 13th where our youth organizers spoke-out. Stay tuned for a recap of the Anti-Street Harassment Rally!

1 Reply to "CGES Street Harassment Youth Summit was a Success!"

  • Lilia Donovan
    June 26, 2013 (4:52 pm)

    The Little Bird project uses art to raise awareness about street harassment as a human rights issue ( ). We work in the Bay Area, where, according to statistics compiled by Stop Street Harassment , 100% of women surveyed are harassed at least occasionally. We also know that 90% of women experience street harassment by the age of 19 . With these numbers in mind – and a full understanding of how terrifying and dangerous street harassment can be – we wanted to let our family of activists and readers know about some amazing self-defense resources in the Bay Area this summer.

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