Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
A commitment to social justice is a lifelong dedication for which it is crucial to build a network of both likely and unlikely allies and supporters, and cultivate an open space in which individual and collective ideas can emerge and develop. Zachary Dryden, Florida State University's 2007 YP4 Fellow, has decided to do just that by planning a Social Change Weekend retreat for 40 young adults to discuss the overarching theme of discrimination and oppression.
Scheduled to take place from November 9-12, the retreat will be held at the Florida State University's Reservation, creating an ideal atmosphere to share, learn, question and feel empowered.
In alliance with various progressive student groups, students at Florida A&M and nonprofit organizations Refugee House and United Partners for Human Services, Zachary chose an executive committee of students and professionals to assist him in the planning and development process. The retreat, facilitated by 10 students chosen for their leadership skills, will consist of large group discussions, smaller breakout discussions and interactive activities such as skit writing and multimedia presentations. Groups will delve into a variety of sensitive issues including race, sex, class, age, religion, privilege, power, violence and the media in order to deconstruct issues of discrimination and oppression and analyze the ways in which they are experienced by individuals and communities.
By bringing together students from diverse backgrounds and promoting dialogue, Zachary hopes retreat attendees will find common ground and step beyond their comfort zones to truly engage with the issues at hand. His ultimate goal is to create a space in which "young people are empowered to take a stand against discrimination and oppression, where we work together to ensure a safe environment in ALL places (not just at weekend retreats) that promotes healthy dialogue and space for personal growth, as well as the development of meaningful relationships."