Commission team with youth at JHS 291 in Brooklyn during “Respect for All” week, February 2020 (Photo credit: Neha Gautam Photography).
The Commission is committed to investing in the leadership of young people who are at the forefront of positive change. The Community Relations Bureau has worked to empower young leaders in schools, community organizations, and after school programs. Through these efforts, we partner with young people to identify human rights issues in their communities, develop solutions, and build their leadership skills.
The Commission’s youth initiatives are designed to be collaborative programs with schools and organizations. Through these programs, young people:
Our YES Initiative acknowledges the need for education equity for every student to perform at their highest level. Educational equity describes a system that provides every student with all they need to perform adequately. However, racial and socio-economic segregation increase disparities in access to learning opportunities throughout schools and neighborhoods. As a first step to dismantling systems and practices that uphold these inequities and moving forward with bridging the gap, the YES Initiative has created a master list of learning opportunities and resources. The list comprises of both paid and unpaid internships, activism and volunteer opportunities, and programs with diverse focuses. While this may be a small step towards the work we must do as a city, it is a step in the right direction to ensure educational equity for NYC youth.
“You Have Rights” is a new activity book to help young New Yorkers learn about the New York City Human Rights Law, one of the most robust human rights and civil rights laws in the nation, and the activists who fought for human rights. The fun, interactive book serves as a starting place to teach, learn, foster discussion, and open minds to topics that many young people may not have known or thought about. Accessible to youth of all ages, this book will be a valuable tool for the City’s young people, parents, and educators.
Art in all of its forms – music, visual arts, dance, and more – is a powerful avenue of self-expression. Art can educate people about devastating human rights issues. And art can bring people together to inspire action and change. Young people have been using art to bring awareness to broader social justice issues, especially in this time of uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to this unprecedented moment, the Commission invited young people ages 13-18 to submit artworks that explore social issues in their communities. Visit our virtual art gallery to see what they had to say.
It is critical that young people see themselves and their communities reflected back at them in the literature they read. Curated by the Commission, Stories For All is a reading list highlighting authors, characters, and stories that tackle the issues and experiences facing diverse communities. Featuring books by authors and illustrators from different racial, ethnic, religious, LGBTQI, and disability communities, the books in this list explore everything from loving your hair and skin to gender transition to immigrant and refugee experiences, and more. This reading list is intended as a reference guide for parents and educators for young people age pre-K through 12th grade. Download the reading list here.
The Commission offers a number of workshops and trainings for young people of all ages addressing a range of social justice issues facing women, young people, people of color, diverse faith communities, and LGBTQI people. The trainings seek to empower young people by educating participants around unique systems of oppression and fostering conversation and problem-solving to address these challenges through a human rights lens. Learn more about Commission’s workshops/trainings and request a training.