A Lesson in Activism: Brooklyn Youth Fellows Rally for Immigrant Rights
My first national march on Washington, DC was as a teenager and it instilled in me a lifetime of activism. That's why it was especially thrilling to work with our talented Brooklyn Youth Fellowship Coordinator Michelina Ferrara to incorporate an activism component into our Brooklyn Youth Voice Fellows grantmaking program.
The New York Immigrant Coalition sponsored a bus on which Michelina and 10 of the Foundation’s Brooklyn Youth Fellows journeyed from Sunset Park to Washington, DC on Saturday, January 14th to participate in the #HereToStay rally organized by United We Dream and others at the historic Metropolitan AME Church to show their support for unity, solidarity, and sanctuary for immigrant families.
The Fellows (pictured above) helped coordinate the 50-person strong bus ride, leading chants, sharing personal stories, and sparking conversations about intersections within immigrant justice and youth organizing.
It’s powerful to know just how transformed the youth felt by the experience. Participants used the following language to describe the day:
- "I feel like today is the first day of the rest of my activism."
- "I am here today for all the people who cannot be because they are working to support their families. It's their dreams I am working to defend."
- "I finally feel like I am a part of something much bigger than myself."
We are glad our Fellows were there to represent Brooklyn and show that our communities stand with immigrant families. And we encourage everyone to raise their voices to help Brooklyn be the "fair and just" place we all want to be.
I myself will be boarding a bus this Saturday with activists of every age to return to the nation's capital, pink hat in hand, and take pride in the power of the force of all of us who will actively participate in our democracy at the local and national level.
For the Youth Fellows, as it was for me, I have no doubt their first trip to DC will not be their last!