Chicago Public Schools Hosts 2022 Civil Rights Student Leadership Conference
30 April 2022
Featured workshop topics include restorative justice, defense legal aid, and relationships among marginalized communities
CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) hosted its first-ever 2022 Civil Rights Student Leadership Conference Saturday, convening high school students for thought-provoking presentations and break-out discussions about a variety of social justice topics, from restorative justice and allyship, to self care.
“This is a great opportunity for our student leaders to collaborate with peers from across the District, to think critically and learn more about how to best advocate for themselves and others,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “I am confident that this day will stand out as one of inspiration and motivation for students to use their strong voices and sharp perspectives in pursuit of justice for our most marginalized individuals and communities.”
The full-day and in-person conference, organized by the District’s Title IX Office, aimed to inspire and provoke thoughtful conversations and lessons about civil rights, legal aid, discrimination, ableism, equity, and healing. District and school staff and 120 high school students from across the District convened at Uplift Community High School which opened in 2005 in the aftermath of social justice action created by Uptown residents who demanded standard schools and fair housing.
\Chicago Board of Education board member Elizabeth Todd-Breland, an author and an associate professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was the conference’s keynote speaker, with Illinois Department of Human Rights Director James L. Bennett, and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, an immigrant and the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, addressing the students during closing ceremonies.
Following the Civil Rights Student Leadership Conference, the District plans to host a paid fellowship for students interested in continuing social justice work. The Civil Rights Summer Fellowship will be open to 25 CPS students – rising sophomores, juniors or seniors in Fall 2022 . Students should use the Civil Rights Summer Fellowship Application to apply for the program.