Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston (BGCGH) just collaborated in the national, multi-city Teen Empowerment Town Hall Aug. 5 which tackled timely issues of social and racial justice impacting teens in America today. The event culminated the summer- long work that Club members have been engaged in around these important issues. The 90-minute virtual session aired live via the platform MyFuture.Net.
Participating in the town hall with BGCGH were teen Club members and adult board and staff representatives from Boys & Girls Clubs in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), Metro Atlanta, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, who discussed topics including police reform, criminal justice reform and grassroots activism, the latter led by BGCGH. Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Atlanta and Innovation Bridge, which delivers high quality technical assistance for more just and equitable communities and schools, provided key support during the meeting, including remarks by Jim Clark, BGCA’s CEO.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America recently conducted a national survey of more than 1200 teens on racial and social justice issues. It was learned that 43 percent were “very interested” in engaging in conversations and education around police reform, 21 percent were interested in criminal justice reform and closely behind, youth want to hear about community empowerment.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston is grateful to be part of this important event which allowed young people to make their voices heard on specific social and racial justice topics that are so relevant today,” says Kevin Hattery, President and CEO. “Our teen Club members, along with staff, were engaged in lively discussions with peers from around the country, including Minneapolis, where George Floyd died. I am so proud of these young men and women who are asking tough questions and working as catalysts for positive social change in our community and beyond.”
BGCGH was represented by board chairman Julius Young, who presented the closing remarks for the event. Young was just named as the local board member on Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, a national initiative.
This task force is charged with developing and monitoring strategies to create meaningful, action-oriented solutions for Clubs in addressing social injustice and the racial inequities that impede success for kids and teens, with a focus on black, brown and indigenous youth. Young will provide valuable counsel and leadership in this role.
In June, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston launched its new teen social justice initiative called Be The Change You Want 2 See with three events to educate and inspire teen Club members to be agents for social change and racial justice in Houston and our nation. The objective of the initiative is to amplify youth voices and activism through critical and intentional conversations, artistic expression and service/learning projects.
For further information on Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston’s programming, please visit www.bgcgh.org.