Zone 126 at Ready By 21
For three days, hundreds of leaders who work with young people to get them ready for college, work, and life by age 21 gathered in Palm Beach County to exchange ideas and dialogue. The birth to 21 initiative brought together local and national partners. Each year’s Ready By 21 National Meeting brings attention to collective impact initiatives, policy alignment, and program quality improvement. Various stakeholders provide a lens on how the work is moving forward.
The Forum for Youth Investment, which spearheads the Ready by 21 National Meeting, coalesced folks in academia, collective impact, and equity who are doing the work. Another feature of the conference were the keynote speakers and plenary sessions.
Ms. Ruby Nell Sales was one such plenary speaker that resonated with many attendees. Ms. Sales is a deeply-committed social activist, scholar, public theologian, and educator in the areas of Civil, Gender and other Human Rights. For over 40 years, she has worked towards non-violence, peace and justice. She is the founder of The SpiritHouse Project in Atlanta, Georgia. During the plenary, Ms. Ruby Sales asked the audience “how do we build a youth community in a fragmented world where often young people are searching for roots?” She also stated, “I argue that love can create anger, but it’s redemptive anger. It’s anger that moves you to change things, to create a better world to be compassionate about someone else’s struggle. That’s redemptive anger.”
The Ready by 21 National Meeting provided a much needed transparent conversation regarding young people and the barriers they are currently facing. It is a clear reminder that we can celebrate small wins but we still have much to do to make long term impact.
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