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Social Justice Youth Camp: “Nothing about them without them”

The inaugural Social Justice Youth Camp in summer 2016 brought together 14 diverse young adults—seven with disabilities and seven without—to explore creative avenues for activism. Campers learned to support each other and collaborate in an inclusive setting through visual art, music, social media, and dance as modes of expression. Leadership mentors from throughout the community brought expertise and energy.

The camp broke new ground in creating a powerful alliance with a strong belief in the importance of belonging. Throughout the year, co-directors Austin Nugent and Rachel Esteve built on the momentum, organizing meet-ups and events for the youths.

The All Born (in) planning committee, with a sponsorship from Northwest Health Foundation, invited campers to be the closing speakers at the annual conference in March. Youths wore t-shirts that read “Our lives, our future; inclusion, it’s about humanity” and their powerful presentation embodied just that.

ABI Executive Director Angela Jarvis-Holland states the importance of the youth group, “NWDSA and All Born (In) focus on empowering parents to raise empowered children, so we need to create opportunities and a platform for them to be heard—nothing about them without them.”

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