By: Priscilla Bustamante
BYMC’s annual Advocacy and Thought Leadership Internship program (ATL) is now in full swing! For those unfamiliar with this program, ATL focuses on developing the leadership capacities of young mothers by training them as youth organizers and peer educators. ATL members are trained through weekly workshops, field visits, and community forums. During the first workshop, participating young women created team agreements, identified individual strengths and skills, and discussed decision making and the consensus method. During the subsequent workshop, they began discussing the process of direct-action community organizing. In order to help them examine the existing power structure and begin identifying the issues that they want to work on, last week ATL members also visited the Brooklyn Museum.
Internship participants made their way up from the bottom floor of the museum. They began by examining art pieces from different places in Africa, China, Korea, and Japan. One participating young mother, Rodna Le Brun, described the trip as a fun and interesting experience. Rodna said that she particularly enjoyed learning about “the different perspectives from African-American males on being gay, the difference between white and black America, and talking about different places in Africa.” Participants also enjoyed analyzing a painting depicting the conflict between different Islamic sects. One young mother, Nicole Guerrero, reflected on exploring the painting “using the concept of heaven and hell.” Finally, ATL members enjoyed discovering a display of life-size houses to see the way in which homes were designed throughout the centuries, and the implications that these design styles had on the ways in which Americans lived.
Throughout the rest of internship program, set to run until June, ATL members are scheduled to attend several other trips. They will see a film made by youth on reproductive rights, attend an open mic series highlighting issues significant to Brooklyn youth, and visit the Museum of Tolerance to learn more about social justice movements, global human rights violations, and America’s diversity. ATL members are on their way to gaining knowledge of the existing social structures, an understanding of community organizing, and a greater sense of empowerment. Please support BYMC’s effort to build the leadership capacities of young mothers by donating at http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1252. Thank you!