A summit was held Saturday at Lincoln Middle School focusing on cultural identity for black youth in La Crosse.
The Black Youth Summit was a collaborative effort between the La Crosse School district, UW-L Multicultural Services, La Crosse Public Education Foundation, and B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge). Organizers like the school district's Cultural Liaison Shaundel Spivey wanted to create an environment where black youth could discuss topics like leadership, positive relationships, and creating a positive sense of self.
“The goal is to have our students begin to have a voice in their community,” Spivey said. “Your voice is important and it's needed in this community”
The five hour summit had several speakers including members of the UW-L Athletic Department, a panel of high school students, and members of the front line protests in Ferguson, Missouri on the topic of community togetherness.. A keynote address came from Muhibb Dyer, whose speech focused on realizing personal potential, which is a key component for being successful in adulthood according to Spivey.
“Allowing these kids to understand that, we want you to be you no matter where you are” said Spivey. “But we also want to make sure you have the confidence to be you wherever you're at, and let you understand who you are.”
Spivey said that personal confidence helps down the road when these kids grow up and start dealing with adult problems unique to their experiences as African Americans.