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Sept. 14, 2021

MSU to participate in Smithsonian's National Youth Summit

Lansing area youth will examine the topic of gender equity inspired by museum exhibitions at MSU.

The Smithsonian has chosen MSU as a partner in the 9th annual National Youth Summit. The Summit engages upper middle and high school students nationwide in challenging conversations that bridge past to present. This year’s Summit, which will examine gender equity and efforts to fight against gender bias, is held in conjunction with the “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

As Michigan’s first Smithsonian Affiliate, the MSU Museum is leading the coordination of a two-hour panel discussion on Sept. 21, 2021 from 3– 5 p.m. in partnership with the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and WKAR at MSU. The MSU Museum is one of twelve Smithsonian Affiliate organizations hosting regional youth summits with scholars, activists and youth. Inspired by current exhibitions at both museums at MSU, students from the Lansing Promise will engage with a diverse panel of experts about themes of surveillance and incarceration as it relates to girls and young women.

“This collaboration between MSU arts units to bring our undergraduates and Lansing School District students into a timely discussion aligns with MSU’s arts plan. By leveraging the pull of the arts to bring communities together around urgent issues, we can empower young adults to envision the future they want to create. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the MSU Museum and its partners — including a distinguished panel of scholars and activists — can be leaders in this national conversation,” said Judith Stoddart, associate provost for university collections and arts initiatives.

Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and general manager at WKAR, will moderate the program to a live studio audience with limited seating, register here. In addition, viewers can watch a livestream of the program hosted by WKAR.

Panelists for the program include:

  • Ruth Nicole Brown, MSU Foundation Professor and chairperson of the Department of African American and African Studies and founder of Saving Our Lives, Hearing Our Truths, a research-based community of practice to better understand how power and identity influence the lived experiences of Black girls;
  • Dorinda Carter Andrews, chairperson for the Department of Teacher Education and professor of race, culture and equity;
  • Heather Martin, founding director of Youth Arts Alliance, a community-based organization that establishes opportunities for creative expression in the juvenile justice system;
  • Tawana Petty, a mother, social justice organizer, youth advocate, poet and author. She is intricately involved in water rights advocacy, data and digital privacy education, and racial justice and equity work. She is the national organizing director at Data for Black Lives and former data justice program director at Detroit Community Technology Project and co-leads Our Data Bodies, a five-person team concerned about the ways our communities’ digital information is collected, stored and shared by government and corporations.

Teachers may access free supplementary education materials for all ages at Teachers may also facilitate their own “youth summits” anytime between Sept. 21 and Oct. 12 using learning resources and videos provided free to all registered educators.

The National Youth Summit series was designed by the National Museum of American History to provide students with an opportunity to share their views and debate issues as part of a program that aligns with the National History Standards and Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening. Since the program was launched in 2011, the National Youth Summit has engaged more than 65,000 live viewers and many more through the archived programs.

For more information, visit the MSU Museum website.

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