WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Children today ready to lead tomorrow, that’s the mission of the Wichita NAACP Youth Council.
On a Saturday morning, the group meets to cultivate their passion into leadership.
“Give them the tools to be the leaders that they’ve been called to be,” said LaWanda DeShazer, advisor.
“They work with us about how to talk, you know, tell us that our voice matters,” said Antonio Rankin, youth member.
The group works to empower the youth to use their voices to promote change and equality. They have attended Black Lives Matter protests and set up a voter registration table to help turn a moment into a movement.
“We always tell people that the protest marches, awesome, but what comes next?” said DeShazer.
The council strives to give its members the foundation to do the what comes next.
“If you want, police reform, who do you go talk to? You talk to the police chief and the city manager,” said DeShazer.
The group has come before the city council to save McAdams Pool and has learned how to lobby bills in Topeka.
Advocating for change is part of the organization’s identity, Back in 1958, members of the youth council were among those who led the Dockum Drug Store sit-in. The first in the nation student-led protest at an all-white lunch counter.
“Even with Dockum, the young people said we got to do something. And they actually violated national headquarters because they didn’t think they were prepared yet. And they were like, we’re doing it,” said DeShazer. “That’s what we always try to let our kids know, history has been made before, history can be made again.”
The recent unrest in our country is leaving its mark on this generation like 10-year-old Marley Powell, now inspired to one day become a judge to carry on the fight for justice.
“It’s going to be going on for a long time until somebody makes a change and I want to be that one who makes a change.”
The NAACP Youth Council meets twice a month.
Any youth interested in joining the council can contact LaWanda DeShazer at firstname.lastname@example.org