In the summer of 2020, VOiCEup Berks and Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) of Reading hosted a six-part youth-centered series of conversations on racial inequality and injustice called Community Conversations for Change. Twenty-seven students from eight different schools in Berks County spent over 10 hours discussing racial injustice, inequality, systemic racism, police relations and what they could do to address the situation with their peers.
The students used the information discussed in these Community Conversations for Change sessions to brainstorm project ideas that would address the issue of racism in our community. After much discussion and dozens of great ideas from the students, this amazing team of youth with support from YVC/VOiCEup staff created three ongoing student-led projects to raise awareness, promote tolerance and educate others. These projects, including a anti-racism pledge, a youth-created website, and school discussion groups, formed the basis of the Stand Together Against Racism youth movement that has since spread to different communities all around the nation.
The S.T.A.R. work that began in 2020, continues today with youth leading anti-racism projects in their schools and communities. Learn more about this movement and check out recent projects here: www.yvc-star.org.