Future of Feminism '17

By: Sikivu Hutchinson

On May 25th, approximately 130 youth and adult attendees participated in the “Future of Feminism” conference for girls of color and allies of all genders at the Foundation Center in South L.A.  Spearheaded by young women of color with a focus on intersectional feminism, the L.A. County Human Relations Commission and Women’s Leadership Project conference was the first of its kind in South L.A.  Participating schools and organizations included Dorsey High School, King-Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, Gardena High School, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, Fremont High School, LAUSD School Police, David & Margaret Youth and Family Services, Barrio Youth in Action and the L.A. Commission for Children and Families. 

Top Left to Bottom Right: (WLP Workshop: Challenging 'Isms: Heterosexism, colorism & sexism pt. 1 ; WLP Panel Discussion ; MC HS: Intersectionality, Sexual Violence & Homelessness ; Challenging 'Isms: Heterosexism, colorism & sexism pt. 2)

Students attended youth-led workshops on the intersection of sexual violence and homelessness; media representation, mental health and intimate partner violence; combatting every day sexism, racism, colorism and heterosexism at school campuses; redressing the school-to-prison pipeline through transformative justice; and deconstructing transphobia and homophobia through the examination of social norms such as dress, speech and gender-coded behavior.  Partner organizations Youth Justice Coalition, Media Done Responsibly, Peace Over Violence and the GSA Network (in collaboration with Fremont HS and the Trans Youth Support Network) provided support.  

Left to Right:  Clay Wesley & Kennedy Moore ; KD Students reflect on gender, race and class ; GSA/Trans Youth Support Network Gender Box museum 

 The conference was emceed by WLP alums Kennedy Moore (2016) and Clay Wesley (2009).  WLP health educator Issachar Curbeon opened the event with a video highlighting WLP youth perspectives on intersectional feminism.  Issachar and former WLP intern Marlene Montanez co- moderated a feminism and advocacy panel featuring WLP college alum from UCLA, UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, Mt St Mary's University, CSUN, CSULB, El Camino College and UCSC.  Panelists Miani Giron, Liz Soria, Marenda Kyle, Dercy De La Cruz and DJ/activist Kumi James gave their perspectives on identity, colorism, navigating racism/sexism and white supremacy in academia, pushing back against Eurocentric beauty standards, and community activism.  The event concluded with a commentary and presentation by King-Drew Leadership and Feminism Club students on the Vagina Monologues and its significance for women's rights, civil liberties, free speech and feminist self-determination.  The reading was based on a student-led production mounted at King-Drew during the spring semester for Women’s Day, a mandatory school-wide event focusing on gender justice and anti-sexism.  St. John’s Health Center, the Youth Justice Coalition and the Positive Results Corporation provided informational resource tables for conference participants.