Speak Truth Seminars are inter-school social justice discussions led by students in the DC area. They are hosted at different public, public charter, and private high schools and are organized every month by The Center for Inspired Teaching, a DC based group that helps local students and teachers improve education. The seminar starts with a free meal (usually pizza) provided by the organizers. Then, each seminar has four or five discussion topics that students can sign up for, with a few relevant articles provided to prepare everyone for the conversation. Every seminar is related to a social or political issue
I first became involved my junior year as a regular participant. I loved meeting other people who cared about social justice and hearing what they had to say. Moreover, it was a great opportunity to intelligently discuss important issues that would not be covered in school. I later started to help facilitate the seminars, where I would work with other students to pick a topic, research articles, and create discussion questions.
The last seminar was held on Feb. 7 at Dunbar High School. Since it is Black History Month, every topic was related to the Black Lives Matter movement. My partner and I facilitated a discussion on Senator Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign launch. Our group discussed her history with criminal justice as a prosecutor in California, what it means to have black people running for office, what the “black vote” means to politicians, and how to balance racial solidarity with political ideology. Overall the discussion was good, for there were multiple angles and perspectives rather than it being one-sided. As a facilitator, I mainly focused on keeping the conversation flowing rather than giving my personal opinions. However, I learned a lot of valuable information that applies to me as a black person and a young voter. This type of information is often not available at school, which is why I enjoy the seminars so much.
The next seminar will be held at Wilson High School on Feb. 28 from 5-7 pm. Then, I will be leading a discussion on the importance of hiring black teachers in schools. It is open to all, and I encourage anyone who is interested in learning about and discussing social issues to come.