The Latinx Youth Leadership Conference is an annual event that celebrates Latinx culture and helps Latinx middle and high school students learn to share peace through leadership. The primary goal of this event is to promote youth development, leadership, and positive cultural identity while enabling teens to see their role as peacemakers and learn individual actions to share with their families, schools, and neighborhoods. Participating youth have the opportunity to meet students from other schools while learning and having fun in cultural workshops, presentations and activities relevant to their lives. What makes this a one-of-a-kind event is that it is planned by and for Latinx youth; a team of high school students meet weekly for 8 months to plan and develop all conference elements.
Please contact Adrian Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 612-872-6165 ext. 120 if you would like more information about the event.
On May 21, 2021, 78 youth gathered for La Oportunidad’s 20th annual Latinx Youth Leadership Conference. As a result of the COVID-19 virus the conference was hosted online through Zoom.
The Youth Planning Committee selects an annual theme based on relevant social issues or topics that impacts the Latino community. For that reason, the Committee selected Community Healing and Resiliency as the theme for 2021. The purpose of the theme was to acknowledge how the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the social unrest after the police killing of George Floyd, affected our global and local society. The Committee believed it was important for youth to understand how the previous 14 months changed their lives and how community members supported each other.
This year the event was changed to adjust to the virtual format. Vibrant and colorful presentations with music were developed to create excitement throughout the event.
The event’s highlights included a powerful message from the two youth MC’s: Layaned Sanisaca and Enrique Perez; as well as eight workshops facilitated by local community members. Additionally, various Latinx culture-focused trivia questions were asked to engage the students during the welcome and finale of the event.
The eight workshops covered different aspects of healing and resiliency, such as: understanding how trauma and experiences shape your future, how our community supports each other, the importance of self-care and processing your emotions, and finding motivation during the hardest times. A complete list and description of each workshop is found in the Conference Program.
The success of this event was a result of a labor of love from the Youth Planning Committee. The feedback from the conference participants’ exceed expectations. The planning committee, made up of high school Latinx youth leaders and mentors, met virtually to plan all aspects of the conference, and to find ways to transition to a virtual format. Additional to the mentors, huge support came from our sponsors: Minneapolis Foundation’s Fund for Safe Communities and Youthprise.
98% of youth expressed an increase in cultural pride, 85% expressed an increased sense of and capacity for leadership, and 92% expressed an increase in skills, knowledge and/or positive attitudes in at least one of the following areas: self, relationships, education, and/or community.
PHOTOS of the most recent in-person conference (2019) are posted on our Facebook page, to view them click here.
Past conference topics have included:
- 2020: (The conference had to be cancelled due to the pandemic)
- 2019: Justicia y Sostenibilidad Ambiental
- 2018: Cuídame, Cuídate
- 2017: El Pueblo Unido (The People United) – Theme: Social Action/Activism
- 2016: De Donde Vengo y Adonde Voy (Where I’m From and Where I’m Going)
- 2015: Express Your Identity
- 2014: Cultivating My Well-Being
- 2013: Traditions in Our Hearts, United We Thrive
- 2012: Growing Healthy Relationships Together
- 2011: Dancing with the “Sole”, Bailando con El Corazón
- 2010: Mind Opening Scenes: Artes Visuales
- 2008: Who am I? Finding Myself to Promote Peace
- 2007: Our History and Traditions: The Key to the Future
- 2006: Hip Hop: A Tool for Peace and Social Change
- 2005: Healthy Lifestyles
- 2004: An Intergenerational Dialog on Immigration