We’ll Take This Wherever We Go

The first day I attended the internship I met Ms.Venson (Executive Director-YCCS). She told me the vision behind the civic engagement internship and it was compelling. I knew it wouldn’t be just an assignment but a vision that would shift the culture and energy in Black and Brown communities.

The YCCS civic engagement project is one of the biggest reasons I started doing research about poverty and gun violence. I participated in the project and showcase last year and it was an incredible experience. This year, I walked away with the First Place Prize for the Civic Engagement Team Project and other first place awards for my individual work. It was a very humbling experience.

The topic of the project was how poverty influences Intra-communal violence. The beginning was difficult. Many of the team members left the project. At some point, I lost focus. But I was the only person committed to finishing. Because I looked at it as more than an assignment. This is a harsh reality for many of us. And this reality is wrong! I wanted everyone to know that, whether I won or not.

To reduce intra-communal violence, we conducted marches, voter registration drives and spoke truth to power, demanding access to healthy food and nutrition, equitable and quality schools and education, investments in recreational centers, opportunities to engage in meaningful and sustainable work with living wages, and affordable housing and child care.

Being an intern at YCCS has helped me build and develop lifelong relationships with my peers and mentors that go beyond the internship. I have learned multiple techniques to combat poverty and violence from people all over the world. For instance, I attended intervention and prevention workshops in Los Angeles where I met people just as passionate as me about making our communities better place to live and grow.

I am deeply grateful for YCCS and everyone who made it possible for young leaders to come together in this internship and be more civically engaged and to take this knowledge everywhere we go. I look forward to coming back and helping to cultivate the next generation of leaders.

Chyann McQueen

Class of 2018, CCA Academy