ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – One Rock Hill organization called M.A.R., or “Mom’s Against Racism,” is hosting its first in-person pre-teen and teen conference. It’s called “Speak Up: Future Voices for Social Change Summer Enrichment Conference.” The conference aims to teach younger generations to express themselves.
Rock Hill has a long history of encouraging activism and social change and the organization “Mom’s Against Racism” wants to teach younger generations how to use their voices to bring about positive change.
NaTasha McNeil, with “Mom’s Against Racism,” says, “I think that often times we are stuck with our family units behind our devices and so we assume that our kids know things — or know how to handle things, but if that dialogue isn’t being present within the household or even within the schools, then we’re just assuming that kids know how to speak up, that they know how to attend a protest peacefully, that they know how to not riot or loot we’re assuming a lot of things by not taking leadership and showing them the right way.”
Kids ages nine to 17, will hear from seven area leaders and activist who will teach them the importance of speaking up against injustice and the power in the act of speaking out for change.
McNeil says, “It sprouted into a need for them to know that when injustices happen regardless of who you are that you need to know what you should do and what you can do.”
Leaders say speaking out is more than just about using your voice, it’s also about expression. Expression that can be found in murals across the City of Rock Hill.
“We also have artist and painters that are coming in to help them understand that they can also express through art, ways that they can stand up for injustices. We have murals that we’ve done here all throughout our city, what that may look like for a student that likes to paint, is when they are frustrated, when they are angry because these are emotions that are going to happen, what’s the healthiest outlet,” says McNeil.
Learning to express themselves in-person, online, on paper or through art – organizers hope participants learn to become advocates.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with conference organizers about the importance of making individual voices heard.