In April, PYTA member, the Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, hosted a history-making conference in San Bernardino, CA, the IE Intersectional Youth Leadership Conference.
The mission of the conference was to improve the lives of Inland Empire youth by creating spaces that address the intersections of race, class, diverse gender & sexual identities that impact the health, the environment and the lives of youth in the Inland Empire.
Breakout sessions covered everything from sexual education, to social media & mental health, to gender identity, to yoga. to the power of food, with a separate space for adult allies.
Keynote speakers included Zoey Luna, a youth ambassador for HRC featured in the documentary "Raising Zoey", and social worker, Landon Martin.
Here is a reflection from one conference attendee:
It’s been a tough week, emotionally and physically. On Saturday, I was convinced I had no energy to keep my word and attend the inaugural IE Intersectional Youth Leadership Conference with Bryn Barker, despite the fact that I was the one who invited her.
Attending the conference was possibly the highlight of my month. The workshops were inspiring, with one led by Dr. John Paul that has lit a fire under my backside to (again) jumpstart my writing. I could have listened to his workshop for hours. HOURS!!
The other two workshops, centered on sex, HIV, and protective medications were enlightening and NECESSARY. They conversely provided a space for dialogue that really needs to be had between parents and their kids. (Or between friends, couples, co-workers ... just so the information continues to be shared & discussed!)
There were a collective of other speakers, parents, YOUTH YOUTH and more YOUTH, advocates, resources, mental health programs and more (including voter registration and pre-registration resources) that created such a supportive, open environment for the conference’s message to be absorbed. I hope to next year be on the other side, volunteering the event. The message of intersection and belonging to more than one “group” is crucial to blur the lines today’s labels seek to establish. I would love help to continue to grow this conference’s reach and attendance.
I’ve had swollen legs and a numb left foot (Thanks, Neuropathy & Venous Insufficiency! ), in addition to a frozen shoulder (Thanks, Fibromyalgia!!) and intense back pain (you ROCK, scoliosis!!) for the last 3 days, but it was WELL worth it. I am proud to have been part of the conference, and just *delighted* to have shared the experience with my best friend.
Thanks for going with me Bryn
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi
The Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance is an LGBTQ+ Mental Health Non-Profit designed to promote, advocate and create mental health spaces for youth and their parents or guardians. They host regular events, including movie nights, hiking trips, and an afterschool tutoring service.
Find RPYA on facebook