Crossroads News

Equity & Justice Institute Supports ‘Rise Up for Humanity’ Conference

Day of social justice workshops inspires, empowers students from across Southern California.
The Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute—in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work—co-sponsored this year’s “Rise Up for Humanity: Justice for the Forgotten” conference on March 15 at USC. More than 300 students from schools throughout Los Angeles County gathered for a day of leadership development and social justice training workshops.
The youth conference featured thoughtful discussions on topics ranging from hate violence prevention and indigenous wellness to climate change and the prison industrial complex. The event also provided students with resources to help them effect change on their campuses.
“Through the Equity & Justice Institute, we hope to promote and facilitate learning opportunities for students that are both proactive and responsive to societal needs in an ever-evolving world,” says Derric J. Johnson, founding director of the Institute, who attended the event with Crossroads students.
Students had the opportunity to hear from guest speakers and participate in three critical-thinking sessions. The goal of the event was to raise consciousness on social justice issues and build a network of progressive youths in Southern California.
The conference was organized in part by the county Human Relations Commission—on which Derric serves—as well as by Divine Forces Media.
“Leadership development conferences, such as the Rise Up initiative, offer tools and training for youth to use in attempts to make a difference in their schools, amongst their peers and in their communities,” Derric says. “Empowering students to be civically engaged and global ambassadors for the next generation must be prioritized within our educational systems. They’re the ones who will be responsible for altering the future conditions that lead to inequity, discrimination, violence and oppression.”