By Nyesha Stone
There aren’t many organizations that put Milwaukee’s youth at the front of their list. Yet, TRUE Skool, Inc. is a nonprofit that focuses on providing middle and high school youth with unique resources, outlets and much more to empower them to be the best they can be.
Through their programs, events and their many community initiatives, they’re providing a platform for the youth to voice their opinions and make a difference.
On March 24, starting at noon for four hours, TRUE Skool held a public free event “Fighting 4 Justice: The Next Generation,” to show the community how young people are making change in the cream city. There were live performances, a DJ, and two youth panels, along with refreshments, a raffle and lots of networking.
The event was held at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art to feature their “Resistance, Protest, Resilience” exhibit that has been modified and includes over 40 photos from the Collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) that showcases pictures from the twentieth-century movements and also events that lead to crucial social and political changes.
The Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media at Mia organized this exhibit in 2016. Fast forwarding into 2018, this exhibit aligns with the 200 Nights of Freedom 50th anniversary of Milwaukee’s Fair Housing marches, according to TRUE Skool.
“This exhibit is dope,” said Creative Development and Outreach Director of TRUE Skool Fidel Verdin. “But, it’s not just about the history, it’s about what does that look like today.”
This event was a space for open dialogue about tough topics that allowed for all walks of life to share their opinions. Although there were panels, the audience had the chance throughout to stand up and share their voices with those around them.
There were many topics discussed such as why it’s important to vote, or why a lot of youth want alternatives from voting because they aren’t taught how to vote, how to know who to vote for, and plainly who they’re voting for.
Moderator and intern for TRUE Skool Tyrone Randle has been doing social justice work for around three years and he’s noticed there’s a lack of youth voice, which is the importance of the event.
“People don’t always look the youth as having an important voice,” said Randle. “I hope this gives them a sense of hope. It’s not always what you see on TV [because] there are youth out here doing positive things.”
This event was held on the same day as the youth-led powerful marches across the nation expressing their rights to be safe from guns in schools and anywhere they may go. March For Our Lives and organizations like TRUE Skool are showing the world that the youth are our future and we must listen to them because their voices matter.
Although this event was all about giving a voice to the voiceless, everyone agreed that conversations can only go so far and actions need to be taken now. We all know we want change, but for that change to happen we must all come together to plan that change and then that must be followed plan until real change happens.
TRUE Skool knows this is only one step to solving the many issues that not only the youth face but the Milwaukee community as a whole. True Skool won’t stop until real results are shown, which has already begun to happen.