RISD Educating Young Leaders in a Strong City

Richardson ISD Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted the Young Leaders, Strong City (YLSC) Teen Summit, targeting over 200 9th — 12th grade students from all of the district’s high schools. Students convened for a day-long summit with a team of national and local justice advocacy leaders, teachers, and artists to engage in pivotal dialogue and inquiry about racial justice and equity.

According to Angie Lee, RISD Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, “This is our first step in equipping students to become leaders and to find power in their voices. Our goal is for them to use what they learn to identify inequities and exclusionary structures and practices in order to begin the work of reshaping their school campuses and communities.”

The YLSC summit is designed to equip students with the skills to dismantle racism in their schools and communities; cultivate inclusiveness, pride, and leadership development by giving students an opportunity to explore their identities and develop awareness of local history, while creating space for constructive conversations grounded in a positive vision for the future.

“Let’s make RISD a place where every single student belongs,” believes Dr. Jeannie Stone, RISD Superintendent. “Every single student has a place. Is important. And is seen.”

Facilitated by local and national leaders in social justice, students engaged with their peers to learn how to effectively bring racial equity into their lives and into their communities. The goal is to support advocacy and action on complex racial justice issues by building a network of young people who are equipped with skills to understand and dismantle racism in their schools and communities.

“What’s said here, stays here,” said YLSC program organizer, Sara Mokuyria. “What’s learned here, leaves here. We want students to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

The program provided access to engaging workshops, panels, and plenaries while encouraging collaboration and sharing of knowledge, building pride, and developing a deeper awareness of local history. Future leaders engaged in constructive conversations designed for a better future.