Op-Ed Training Empowers Youth Leaders to Make Their Voices Heard in New Way

by raymond on July 28, 2020

This summer, Liberty Hill hosted a series of virtual Youth Activist Op-ed Trainings designed to help our grantee partners expand their thought leadership and make their voices heard on a variety of topics through the medium of opinion pieces. 

Through a partnership with Fostering Media Connections (FMC)—a national nonprofit news organization dedicated to journalism that uplifts the voices and issues of vulnerable children, youth and families in America—we worked to adapt their Youth Voice Program curriculum for this three-day virtual training. 

The series provided participants with an overview of the fundamentals of journalism, emphasizing the ways media has historically been used as a tool for influencing social and political change. Youth participants also engaged in discussion about the ways media shapes larger narratives and how certain voices can be minimized or left out of conversations that amplify only narrow perspectives and identities. 

With guidance from our partners at Fostering Media Connections, participants also walked through the structure of an opinion editorial piece, learning about various elements, how to build credibility as writers and commentators, as well as how to pitch their piece and get it placed in a publication like their online news site The Chronicle for Social Change. As a group, we reflected on the unique role an op-ed has in capturing the often overlooked perspectives of systemically oppressed and underrepresented people and communities. 

Our expert trainers, Sara Tiano and Raquel Wilson, brought their decades of journalism experience to bear, facilitating an engaging and informative series that welcomed diverse voices and opinions into the space on a weekly basis. 

We had 14 participants from eight organizations across Los Angeles County participate in the training including: Gender Justice LA, Khmer Girls in Action, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, CHIRLA, Coalition for Economic Survival, Southeast Asian Community Alliance, API Equality LA, and Gente Organizada

We are firm believers that the people closest to the issues should be the ones leading the way to the solutions. So we are grateful to have had such a diverse set of perspectives from youth and young adults who are excited to make their voices heard and share their first-hand knowledge and experience on a variety of social justice topics. We look forward to seeing the finalized pieces and sharing more with you on this project in the weeks and months ahead. 
 

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