Organizing an International Virtual Conference on Racial Injustice and the Pandemic

Jerry Zhou ’22,  takes action through virtual conferences.

This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/csgc/grants.

In these times of global crisis, the summer plans of teenagers all over the world have been uprooted completely, leaving many of us incredibly distraught and worried about the uncertain future that lies ahead. People all over the world are scared and alone amidst both pandemic and protest, and so I aspired to spend my summer trying to provide a glimmer of hope through educating and inspiring students so they could make use of their newly-gained free time to take action and bring about change in meaningful ways.

This summer, I founded Youth Global Action, an organization that works for that exact goal: Through hosting virtual conferences, posting articles on our website, and highlighting movements that students can contribute to, we hope to educate, encourage, and support more and more students to rise up and take action to help combat the crises that the world is facing.

Over the course of June, with the help of DA juniors Holden Woodward ’22 and Jerry Yuan ’22 and fellow students around the U.S, I planned, organized, and hosted our first virtual conference via Zoom. The conference, themed “Racial Injustice Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic”, aimed to allow high school students around the globe to connect with one another during their isolation and discuss with expert speakers ways in which they could spend time over the summer taking action to fight against the pandemic and racism, to finally split into teams and propose a solution that they could continue working on over the summer.

After a month of speaker recruitment, advertising, and planning, we finally hosted the conference last Saturday, June 27th. A total of 45 participants, 6 facilitators, and 4 expert panelists showed up from all over the world, from China, and Australia, to India and the U.K. Over the remaining months of summer, we plan on continuing to expand our movement and host more events, and we will keep in contact to continue supporting all of the students who decide to move forward with taking action after the conference, in order to observe the growth of their ideas and the change that they spark.

Thanks to the Workman Family and the CSGC, my grant allowed me to set up and host the youthglobalaction.org domain and buy an upgraded Zoom plan for the digital infrastructure of the conference, as well as fund panelist recruitment and prizes for the solutions that participants came up with. Organizing all of this has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far, and I’m looking forward to doing even more throughout the summer.

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