Wanted: Social justice-inclined MPS teachers to serve as advisors to YES student clubs
Voces de la Frontera and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) are looking for teachers to serve as advisors at their school for student-chapters of Youth Empowered in the Struggle. This is a great opportunity for teachers interested in working with like-minded colleagues in other schools to help you become actively involved in social justice issues.
What is Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES)?
YES is the youth arm of Voces de la Frontera, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that has been working with youth for many years. YES is a youth-led, multicultural social justice group that works for student, immigrant, and worker rights. YES leaders have been instrumental in the struggles for the DREAM Act, immigration reform, protecting public education and student rights through the Student Bill of Rights, marching with their teachers in 2011 to defend collective bargaining rights, and passing the MPS Safe Haven Resolution.
YES operates through a leadership committee and school-based chapters, which operate as school clubs. Students who found a chapter at their school have regular student-led meetings to address current organizing campaigns for social justice. Presently our chapters exist mostly at high schools, and also include a few universities. Student leaders also attend weekly leadership meetings at the Voces de la Frontera office to meet with leaders from every school in order to make campaign/event decisions, learn about social justice, and receive leadership development training.
The goal of YES is to create a powerful student voice within the school and the community that collaborates with parents and educators to represent the interests of students, immigrants, and workers, as well as advocate for public education.
What does a teacher advisor for Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) do?
YES advisors are a critical support to student organizers. Advisors commit to chaperone and participate in weekly youth-led YES chapter meetings at the school. They help students navigate the school institution as needed, support students on active campaigns, and help when students want to talk to the principal about something, etc. Depending on the building, there can be advocacy involved to ensure that the students’ right to organize and advocate for social justice is recognized. Although YES is student-led, advisors provide some continuity year to year as students graduate, and help invite and incorporate new and younger students into the group.
Being an advisor to YES does take commitment, but it is also a privilege and opportunity. Advisors get to participate in an empowering and life-changing experience with their students, watching them develop their own sense of self and awareness of social justice. Advisors also have access to support and trainings through Voces de la Frontera & MTEA to facilitate their own development as educators with a focus on social justice.
We encourage advisors to sign up in groups (i.e. two or three per school) as this allows for the sharing of some of the advisory work.