Friday, May 31, 2013

How WLP Has Changed Me

Leticia at work facilitating Wash Prep's Day of Dialogue

By Leticia Patton, Grade 11

To me, WLP means addressing vital issues that plague our community and our school. The group stands for something that our youth need today. The most enlightening experience for me would have to be the Days of Dialogue because they allow students to voice what really goes on so that we can help change the school for the better. I have learned some of the harsh realities of my school campus so now I am not blind to the actions of the teachers, students, and staff on campus. I plan to use the skills and lessons I have learned in my professional and social life. I plan to become an OB/GYN and a strong figure in my community so this has been great preparation to jumpstart the future. The group has caused me to have more respect for myself, women of color, and women in general because I have decided not to use derogatory language to downgrade my peers.

Leticia Patton was one of the top ranked 11th graders at Washington Prep HS and was recently nominated by WLP for a Posse Foundation scholarship.

Jamion at the Black College Expo

By Jamion Allen, Grade 12

WLP has meant so much to me; it has meant uplifting myself and others. WLP has helped me share my knowledge old and new with people of many different backgrounds and personalities. For this I will always and forever be thankful and honored to have been a part of this great organization. 
My Best Experience……… I’ve had so many great experiences being part of WLP but I have to say the most enlightening was just recently at WLP’s annual youth conference. We were having a discussion on various topics and the topic of LGBTQ marriage arose. A person  that had some very different views than I did was expressing her opinion in what I felt was a somewhat disrespectful manner. Though I was getting angry, through my training with WLP I was able to defuse the the situation, but it was a tough one.
I hope to take everything I’ve learned and taught with me through college and in my adult life . I know that with these lessons and skills I can go far because the sky is the limit. 

Jamion Allen will be attending El Camino College in the fall after she graduates from Washington Prep HS.  She was recently the recipient of a Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year award.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day of Dialogue at Washington Prep High

On May 20th, over 150 students participated in a school-wide Day of Dialogue at Washington Prep high school. Using a survey developed with input from faculty and students, the DOD allowed a cross-section of students a rare forum to express their concerns about campus security, college preparation, sexual harassment, homophobia, and adult-youth relations. Students from the Women’s Leadership Project and Leadership class facilitated. A recurring theme throughout the sessions was differences in the way certain groups of students were treated when it came to college preparation, college access, and mentoring. Some students felt that adults actively encouraged college-going among students in special programs such as the Magnet and AVID. Others praised individual teachers and counselors for providing guidance and concrete support by steering them to AP courses, tutoring, and scholarships. The majority felt Washington Prep did not have a college-going culture and that only the most motivated students were pushed to go on to a four year college. Another prominent issue was the lack of classes on racial/ethnic cultural history. Students felt that this kind of culturally relevant education would increase consciousness and defuse tension amongst different groups. One student expressed frustration that all Latinos were identified as “Mexicans” -- thereby ignoring the diversity of Latino heritage on campus.

The need to pushback against a culture of normalized sexual harassment at the school was a subject that polarized students along gender lines. After much prompting, girls articulated their outrage over the culture of casual harassment and sexualization that they experienced. Many girls were hesitant to identify their experiences as actual harassment (often assuming a blame-the-victim stance) but came forward with anecdotes about inappropriate comments teachers had made about girls’ bodies. One heated discussion prompted a group of boys to jeer that girls brought rape and sexual assault on themselves. Abuse and harassment by campus security was another persistent issue. During last November’s first day of dialogue session, some girls revealed that they or acquaintances of theirs had been contacted by campus security on Facebook and other social media. While girls were targets of harassment, several male and female students described being body-slammed by security. Students also addressed persistent homophobia on campus, with many believing that it was “ok” for girls to publicly identify as lesbian or bisexual while agreeing that a double standard existed for boys. The day of dialogue results will be tallied and reported to school staff, faculty, administration and students as part of the 2013-2014 school year climate assessment.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Youth Media Education & Leadership Conference

The sixth annual Youth Media Education and Leadership Conference will be sponsored by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and the Gardena Healthy Start Collaborative on Thursday, May 23rd at California State Dominguez Hills’ Loker Student Union. Women's Leadership Project, Youth Justice Coalition, South L.A. Youth activists and No Haters Here groups will present their culminating work. The conference will be attended by students from Gardena and Washington Prep High schools and Hilda Solis and Bret Harte Middle Schools. Conference highlights include youth workshops on sexism, misogyny and homophobia in media; masculinity and gender role stereotypes; leadership and social justice organizing; LGBT youth advocacy; juvenile justice, undocumented youth advocacy and college preparation.

*Featuring a special performance by the award-winning Washington Prep Theatre Group*

Lunch will be provided
Contact info:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Madonna:Plantation Mistress or Soul Sister?"

By Karly Jeter

Madonna constantly maintains her peculiar image in the media by mocking her “pathological” counterpart, the Black female. She uses the stereotypical aspects of the Black woman to help herself maintain her image in the media, but the only difference between her and a Black woman is that a White woman can maintain her “innocent” “quintessential” image, but the Black woman is portrayed as a “fallen” woman. This is frustrating news since there are multiple Black women who attempt to display themselves as the good girl and bad girl in the media but instead they are crowned the image of a sexual goddess who is unable to change her ways. This is disappointing because I am a Black female who is aspiring to excel in Medicine, but instead I am always portrayed as the second class, ignorant female who is unable to succeed in any career even if I am determined. So for a White woman to act as though she is a stereotypical Black woman is insulting and derogatory. Madonna’s image portrayals as a stereotypical Black woman should not be praised because no matter the audience who is watching her they will always degrade her counterpart as the worthless and ignorant female.

Karly Jeter is a senior who attends Gardena High School, she plans to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges located in Geneva, New York.