On October 14, Civil Rights Policy Fellow Danielle Caron and Civil Rights Policy Intern Jennifer Piperno attended Youth, Civics, and Positive School Climate: A Summit on Leadership and Social and Emotional Intelligence and Supports sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on Children, the Connecticut Department of Education, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, UConn’s Neag School of Education, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Born This Way Foundation.
This summit, which took place in Hartford, CT, was overflowing with the energy of youth. Impassioned young students from around the state spoke out about their experiences with bullying, their aspirations for change in schools, and some of the most pressing challenges facing their communities today. Both representatives from the CHRO sat in the overflow room, where a smaller group of students engaged with one another about more specific issues about their respective institutions. In particular, a group of students from Hall High School in West Hartford shared their experiences with recent discriminatory acts that took place at their school. The exchange of ideas and advice flowed naturally. What if we could extend the dialogue? What if these individuals had more opportunities to explore their concerns and work together to find solutions to their schools’ problems? The conversation was promising, but all too brief. That being said, providing young people with such a platform was visibly and audibly empowering; attendee’s willingness to participate as well as their openness to share, was a testament to that.