On July 25th, YES travelled from Los Angeles to Richmond for a coast-to-coast conference with the RISE for Youth Coalition.
On our first day in Richmond, YES collaborated with RISE to organize a community event for that night, inviting members in the community to attend a session that discussed the problems of the juvenile justice system through creative simulations: spending a day in the life of a juvenile youth through virtual reality, creating "we believe" statements based on the shocking statistics of incarcerated youth, and role-playing in a mock city hall debate that highlighted the lack of transparency within the Department of Juvenile Justice.
On our second day, YES exchanged notes and information with the RISE coalition to help the youth prepare elevator speeches that they could present to local and state representatives. The training events were based on material, statistics, and information produced fully by YES and RISE. Later that day, members of YES practiced delivering these elevator speeches to lawyers at the Legal Aid Justice Center, a law firm that works closely with the RISE for Youth Coalition.
On our last day, we explored the artwork produced by RISE for Youth, which seeks to capture the experience of incarcerated youth in juvenile prisons through powerful imagery. YES hopes to bring the ideas behind this artwork back to Los Angeles, where we will begin producing artwork of our own to convey our advocacy.
YES is extremely grateful to RISE for Youth for hosting us, and we look forward to building upon the coast-to-coast relationships that we established during this conference!