|SAFIRE at the 2011 Summer Celebration|
For the last two sessions, SAFIRE has been having critical, informative, and relevant dialogue around gender, sexuality, body image, relationships, and the state of sex education in Oakland high schools. For both ACRJ and the young Asian women who participate, the program fills a critical gap.
The lack of safer spaces for low-income, young women of color to critically grapple with these issues is an insidious manifestation of a system that devalues their right to knowledge and information as well as their control over their bodies, gender, sexuality, and relationships.
This spring session, we will explore our rights as young women of color to determine what knowledge and information we receive, especially when it comes to our bodies and well-being. Covering topics such as Paulo Freire’s “banking method” concept versus popular-style education, where the knowledge we get in the media comes from and who benefits, and the importance of building our confidence in the knowledge we gain from our own lives and experiences.
Along with the work that SAFIRE will be doing, ACRJ is excited to launch our very first CORE youth organizing program, a multi-gender group made up of our seasoned youth organizers who will lead our campaign work around sex education justice this year. And, as if that were not exciting enough, we are also excited to be establishing the Young Men’s Program this spring, which has been moving from a pilot program into an integrated, weekly program.
All three programs will be pushing forward our campaign for Sex Education Justice and a Youth Participatory Action Research Project, a youth-led research project to assess sex education in Oakland high-schools. This research project will influence the specific goals of our campaign. Both the campaign and the research project will create ways for young people of color to determine what information they have access to and how this information empowers them and the decisions they make in their lives.