Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Let's create safe spaces for youth

Published:Friday | August 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM


On August 13, 2018, Equality Youth, along with partners UNDP, U-Report and Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, hosted a national youth symposium in commemoration of International Youth Day on August 12 under the theme 'Safe Spaces for Youth'.

While the coverage by state-run media JIS only covered the words uttered by Minister Floyd Green, it and other media completely missed the highlight - the contribution of the brave young people who went on stage to talk about the how the spaces they exist in have been made unsafe for them and their peers.

The symposium had a cross section of youth from St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, St Elizabeth, Manchester, St Ann, St Catherine, Kingston and St Andrew. The event also had representation from the deaf community and the LGBT community, which led into a panel discussion around safety and security within communities and interaction with the police, creating a nurturing environment for youth and youth becoming advocates for youth.

What was indeed important is that this event gave a platform for issues affecting our LGBT youth population and youth from the deaf community to be part of the conversation around safe spaces for youth.

We should now work towards creating safe spaces for all youth by ensuring that bullying and discrimination is reduced in youth spaces, family members are held accountable for abusing their children, and social isolation of LGBT youth and youth from the deaf community ends. These are just some tangible steps we can take to create safe spaces.