Carolina Youth Action Project
late 2019 - mid 2020
In 2019, I was selected as one of two Youth Action Fellows for Carolina Youth Action Project, or CYAP - the only QPOC-led abolitionist organization in Charleston, South Carolina. I went through a training with the other Fellow (Niecy Blues), led by CYAP staff (curated by Ariel Eure) - which consisted of a 3 month series of workshops on Popular Education, Transformative Justice, and Reproductive Justice - rooted in values of self-care, collective care, healing justice, and more. In early 2020, I began my work as a facilitator of the “Transform Cohort”, made up of 5 youth leaders (women, trans, and non-binary individuals age 17-21), who had been accepted into the Youth Action Alliance. Over the course of several months, I co-facilitated workshops at the CYAP HQ in North Charleston, a weekend retreat in Kiawah Island, social group events (karaoke! bowling!) and week-long trip to Atlanta, GA where we learned from parallel organizations including Southern Fried Queer Pride, Women on the Rise/Close the Jail ATL, Southerners on New Ground, and more.
The would-be conclusion of my Fellowship coincided with the pandemic, and our final activities were cut short to prioritize rest and respond to the shared access needs of both CYAP staff and youth leaders. Despite this, my time as a part of the CYAP team was transformative and essential, and introduced me to an ethic of pleasure activism (cc: Adrienne Maree Brown), repair (cc: Marianne Kaba), discarding of chains (cc: Assata Shakur), and popular education (cc: Septima P. Clark) -- but more importantly forged relationships with an unforgettable cohort of young people and a devoted and loving CYAP staff who taught me so much.