Recently, teen health educators from our Just Ask Me (JAM) Peers program were given the opportunity to attend this year’s Teen Vogue Summit, a weekend dedicated to youth activism and leadership. One of our peers, Luena Sanon, reflects on what she took away from the experience.
As a JAM Peer Educator, I have had some great experiences working with other teens in my community. I educate them on different reproductive health issues, healthy relationships, consent, and making healthier decisions. On Saturday, June 2, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend Teen Vogue’s Summit. The summit’s mission was “to prepare you with the tools, confidence, inspiration, and connections to help you use your voice and passion to speak up and create change on whatever issues matter to you—whatever issues you #turnup for.”
The day began with a word from Emma Gonzalez, a teen activist for gun reforms from Parkland. She spoke in depth about her fight for gun control. She mentioned the power of the young person’s voice in encouraging change. Over the next few hours a variety of different topics were discussed; they ranged from the movement against gun control to the conversation of social justice, activism, and climate change. All of these topics were spoken about passionately and made a difference in the way I viewed them.
After lunch the topic was shifted to LGBTQ rights and how we can advocate for equality in our communities. A young woman by the name of Jennicet Gutierrez shared her experience as an immigrant. She opened up to us about her dream to overcome the challenges that come with her transition and immigration status. She spoke on what we could do to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants and to protect DACA.
I was immensely absorbed in this subject because immigration issues are a huge part of my life. I related to her story because, just like me, she knew the struggle of being in a country that doesn’t feel like home. She understood what it was like to hold on to hope, that this country will provide positive opportunities to you and your family, while being in an environment that felt foreign.
After a short break there was a discussion lead by Nadya Okamoto about her brand PERIOD, an organization that distributes menstruation products to people in need. She spoke about the great need for education on menstruation. Soon after, Vera Papisova, wellness editor at Teen Vogue, and the singer Fletcher spoke about what you can do if you are assaulted. The summit ended with a performance by the Resistance Revival Chorus. Their music focused on the varying movements discussed that day.
All in all I loved the vibe, the energy, and the atmosphere created at the Teen Vogue Summit. I think events like this are important for teenagers because we need to know what’s going on in our communities. This is the only way that we can bring change. What affects our community affects us. Thank you, Teen Vogue. It’s an experience I will forever cherish and I can’t wait to see what you have to offer next year!