YEE ~~~ Young Ethical Explorers
Young Ethical Explorers holds a consistent commitment to active anti-racist work within our Sunday children’s workshopping. Here are some 2020 highlights that have woven together a very deep year of ethical learning and growing.
YEE began Justice January 2020 with activist Angeline Emma Butler, of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). Ms.
Butler described vividly to the children the intense training and self-discipline that underlies successful non-violent activism, sometimes called “non-cooperation activism” — and the purposes to which it was applied so powerfully in the Civil Rights Movement. She described the incredible self-control it took as an activist, to NOT react to the violence and violations from both disagreeing civilians and police who challenged her as she tried to integrate lunch counters and other public spaces. Children imagined how hard it would be to not react — especially when a friend, in this case a fellow activist, could get hurt or pushed around. Children and adults alike admired the courage of Ms. Butler’s impactful deeds.
In March 2020, YEE inaugurated an intergenerational learning space called FIRST SUNDAYS, with the “Hi-Story! Civil Rights Festival” scheduled near the birthdate of Claudette Colvin, whose story (outlined here as “The Wheels On the Bus” song) is obscured or omitted in many histories of the Civil Rights Movement.
At the Hi-Story Festival, children of all ages gave speeches to an audience of all ages. reflecting on humanity’s struggles with fairness and justice. 12 year old Miles Robin expressed, “I stand on the shoulders of giants. If it wasn’t for the giants, I would not be able to live life like I do. At the top of the mountain I stand, living my life. But inside the mountain, all of then giants of history stand together to make the mountain. They worked hard so I could have rights. There are so many different mountains, but all together they make up the Human Rights Mountain Range.”
Once Corona hit, we started zooming. We zoomed with awesome intergenerational connection! Then, by summer, as America got ready for envisioning its future, YEE hosted a July 4th First Sunday event on zoom with justice speeches by children. Here are the words of 10 year old Marifer Fernanda Torres-Sandoval:
In our America, I want us to be proud of who we are. If our skin is brown, tan, black or white, we should feel proud of it.
….Of our sexual orientation… If we like men, women, or whoever!
….If we come from an immigrant family or have lived here since we were born…
…Of our gender! If we are a man, woman, or non-binary, we should feel proud of it.
In our America, I want us to get to choose who we want to be….
During Corona Times, Black Lives Matter marches ignited new dialogue throughout our culture. YEE expressed Black Lives Matter activism vigorously, and safely — through home-marches. A home-march puts children in charge of playing out one of democracy’s crucial practices, SOCIAL JUSTICE MARCHES. Children called upon their whole families to collaborate with them on sign making to create toy/doll marches. YEE Families gathered via zoom to collectively march and chant phrases like “Black Lives Matter!” and “No justice, No peace!” Old and young together discussed the meanings and contexts of these important phrases and their urgent resonance and relevance in our culture.
Below are some pictures of YEE’s Black Lives Matter HOME MARCHES.
YEE remains committed to supporting children in understanding the complex terrain of justice and fairness.
To learn more about YEE and its commitment to the ethical education of true fairness, please feel free to reach out.
Looking forward to more ahead, YEE has begun bias awareness training that will take us into 2021, with THE BIAS ADJUSTER, Dr. Bentley Gibson.
The upcoming season of YEE welcomes new participants, and is inclusive to all kinds of families. COME ON IN!
By Audrey Kindred, Director of Programs for Children, Youth & Families, Ethical NYC.