Theme: Youth Leadership
Thursday, April 6th
3:00 pm: Young Activists on the Frontlines, with Brower Youth Award Winners
Presented in collaboration with Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative
The Brower Youth Awards are among the most prestigious prizes in the U.S. for young eco-activists. In this session, three recent winners share their exemplary and inspiring work and strategies. With 2022 winners Amara Ifeji, a leader in climate education policy-making in Maine; Ilana Cohen, a leader of the successful Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard campaign and co-founder of Fossil Free Research; and 2021 winner Peter Pham, San Jose-based transit justice and climate activist at the local, regional and state levels. Moderated by: Alexia Leclercq, co-founder, Start:Empowerment.
April 6th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Crystal Ballroom, Hotel Shattuck Plaza
3:00 pm: Youth Leadership Program: Storytelling with Auntie and Uncle
A conversation on Medicine, Harms in our Communities, and Protecting Youth
Join Vice-Chair Cari Herthel of the Esselen tribe and Jerry Tello of the National Compadres Network to learn about their renowned, inspiring social justice and youth empowerment work.
April 6th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
3:00 pm: Youth Leadership Program: The Celebration Singing Tree
In this hands-on art-making workshop, we will engage in the creation of a Singing Tree mural from start to finish during the conference. It will be the 117th Singing Tree mural of a forest of trees made by over 21,000 people from 52 countries, part of an invitation for the whole world to make a painting together, based on the vision of an 8-year-old girl. The workshop will also include scientific information about the positive neurobiological impacts of the “Peace Building Through Art Inspired by Nature” program. Paint clothes will be provided. Hosted by Laurie Marshall, founder of the Unity Through Creativity Foundation and The Singing Tree Project. Facilitated by Singing Tree facilitators Leslie Rein and Sweta Chawla.
April 6th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Terrace outside Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
Young activists have emerged as the most significant and impactful voices in global movements to combat climate change and demand environmental justice. In this session, three outstanding young leaders share their perspectives, projects and aspirations. With: Alexandria Villasenor, award-winning, globally renowned activist, founder of Earth Uprising; Alexia Leclercq, grassroots environmental justice organizer extraordinaire, 2021 Brower Youth Award winner, co-founder of Start: Empowerment; Aniya Butler, Lead Circle Member, Youth vs Apocalypse. Moderated by: Callie Broaddus, founder of Reserva: The Youth Land Trust.
April 6th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Golden Bear Room, Hotel Shattuck Plaza
True to a rainbow, queerness carries a spectrum of perspectives, with many gradients of experience. Alongside the inherited magic and joy of our liberated identities, we are often also moving with our wounds, questions, thoughts, and processes that can be challenging to navigate alone. This space is dedicated to making sanctuary for discussions, witnessing, and peer support as we work through and with who we are. Come as you are to speak, be heard and to hear, so we can make medicine for each other in the shared journey of being queer. This space is dedicated to the LGBTQ2SIA+ experience and those respectfully honoring that intention. Hosted by Orion Camero, former Brower Youth Awards winner and Spiritual Ecology fellow, alongside Anuhea “BB” Haruki Hoshide Cooke.
April 6th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Kinzie Room, Brower Center
Restorative justice focuses on mending broken relationships, as well as maintaining positive healthy relationships. It is a fundamental shift in the way we view and do justice. What happens when we think about harm in ways that don’t involve retaliation or vengeance but instead healing and transformation. Restorative Justice healing circles will be facilitated by RJOY (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth).
April 6th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
Friday, April 7th
Climate activists have made landmark progress on fossil fuel divestment. Now we need to evolve the divestment movement to the next level by holding universities and academia broadly accountable to fully separate from Big Oil’s influence. This means getting such institutions to reject industry funding for climate research, which has distorted public knowledge and policy, while contributing to greenwashing. Ilana Cohen will explain how a burgeoning international grassroots movement of students and academics, known as Fossil Free Research, is seeking to combat the industry’s pernicious influence, and how you can get involved in the fight!
April 7th | 10:21 am to 10:30 am | Zellerbach Hall
Amara Ifeji mobilized a grassroots effort to address racism in her high school in Maine, at age 14. She also developed a love for the mountains and woods around her, but she saw her passions for the environment and racial justice as distinct until she heard youth of color like herself share their experiences working at this intersection and realized these struggles were completely intertwined. She will share how this awakening shaped her subsequent work as a remarkably effective organizer and advocate who centers storytelling to realize environmental justice, climate education, and outdoor learning for ALL youth.
April 7th | 12:03 pm to 12:11 pm | Zellerbach Hall
Bioneers is inherently a community of mentors—people eager to learn, share, explore and create together. The “Community of Mentors” space at Bioneers offers youth conference participants the opportunity to be in small group mentoring sessions with Bioneers presenters who share their life experiences in an interactive dialogue format in order to be of service to young people seeking guidance on their path to activism. In this session featuring Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri, a farmer, STEM educator and the Intercultural Conversations Program Manager for Bioneers, young people will be invited to bring questions about how to navigate an unpredictable future and develop a path towards resilience, health and empowerment. Co-hosted by fellow members of the Weaving Earth team, Justine Epstein and Sam DeBosky.
April 7th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Conference Room in Magnes Museum
3:00 pm: Youth Leadership Program: Rehearsing our Revolution
Cultivating Wellness in Relationship to Our Environments
In this youth-led workshop that utilizes interactive practices developed in the 1970s in Brazil by Augusto Boal influenced by the work of the great educator Paulo Freire, author of the highly influential book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we will explore 10 different dimensions of holistic wellness, with special emphasis on cultivating environmental wellness, personally and collectively. In order to be effective activists, we need to be solidly grounded in personal health, which then permits us to have healthy relationships to ourselves, our communities and our environments. Facilitated by Sam Martinez and Julianna Horcasitas of BAY-Peace.
April 7th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
Come hear first-hand accounts of the ordeals and life challenges of courageous, inspiring young adults who had to flee their homelands as refugees to the U.S., after which we’ll engage in a discussion about refugee rights. Mahjabin Khanzanda, who had been an interpreter for the U.S. army, barely made it out of Kabul on an emergency evacuation flight just before the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Noor Almusahwi first became a refugee in Syria when his family fled Iraq under threat from Saddam Hussein’s regime, before then becoming a refugee again after the brutal war in Syria ignited. They will be joined by Andrea Valverde, a highly experienced social worker with Refugee Foster Care. Hosted by: Humaira Ghilzai, social entrepreneur, writer, producer, educator, co-founder of the non-profit Afghan Friends Network.
April 7th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Campanile Room, Hotel Shattuck Plaza
This interactive session will be a caucus space for white-identified youth. Using a heart-centered, nourishing process, we will unpack the history of “whiteness” and explore what it means to be a white settler on Indigenous land as well as the harms that white supremacy has caused. With ritual, introspection, and dialogue, we will witness and support each other in the long-term process of learning to become a good relative and an effective ally to communities of color. Facilitated by: Hilary Giovale and Joe Sweeney.
April 7th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Kinzie Room, Brower Center
The BIPOC Youth Caucus is a safe and brave open forum where youth of color have an opportunity to listen to one another and share the real issues that come with holding their identities in social and environmental movements as well as in the world at large. Facilitators will help youth deal with their struggles and aspirations and have an opportunity to move toward healing. Facilitated by Brandi Mack, Minkah Smith and Alondra Aragon.
April 7th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
Whether you are gay, bi, or lesbian, transgender or two-spirit, or adjacent allies supporting us to thrive, our shared lineage makes for a vibrant garden of beings that mutually support our growth and blooming. This gathering celebrates our self-expression through a night of expression, through performances and participation. Take part and witness the spells cast for wellness for the queer community through food + drink, song, dance and connection in a night celebrating our unique roles in liberation. This is a space dedicated for LGBTQ2SIA+ folx, but allies are welcome. Hosted by Orion Camero, former Brower Youth Awards winner and Spiritual Ecology fellow.
April 7th | 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
Saturday, April 8th
Bioneers is inherently a community of mentors—people eager to learn, share, explore and create together. The “Community of Mentors” space at Bioneers offers youth conference participants the opportunity to be in small group mentoring sessions with Bioneers presenters who share their life experiences in an interactive dialogue format in order to be of service to young people seeking guidance on their path to activism. In this session, renowned musicians and activists Leah Song and Biko Casini of Rising Appalachia will explore the role of the arts as tools to catalyze change, understand grief, and create catharsis. They will discuss their lives as full-time touring artists and answer questions about life on the road and the role of folk musicians as well as their perspectives on sustainable touring and making a living through artistry. (And hopefully we’ll get to make a little music together as well.) Co-hosted by fellow members of the Weaving Earth team, Justine Epstein and Sam DeBosky. From Leah and Biko: “We are so looking forward to being with you all and also learning from each of you about your experiences making your way in these challenging times.”
April 8th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Kinzie Room, Brower Center
A working session open to all youth who want to come and complete the Singing Tree Collective Mural collective before the close of the conference. With Leslie Rein and Sweta Chawla.
April 8th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Terrace outside Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
What makes someone an activist? In this workshop, we’ll explore activism with a focus on historical and modern youth activism, and we’ll use the art and power of poetry to share and illustrate our most passionate thoughts, ranging from our identities to global issues. In the end, we will discover the activist within us all and learn to empower our fellow youth peers! Facilitated by poet and activist Myra Estrada, a 2023 Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam finalist.
April 8th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
This Open Mic, our final event of the weekend, centers youth voices, showcases youth talent and offers a powerful and sacred space for truth and healing. Open to all youth who have something that they would like to share, it will be rowdy, sweet, high energy, thoughtful and whatever else youth want to bring to the stage. MC’d by the dynamic Hip Hop and R&B artist, Jada Imani.
April 8th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Tamalpais Room, Brower Center
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