HTX Youth Summit: Amplifying the Power of Houston's Youth
By Christi Vasquez
This past weekend, I was honored to represent the East End Block Party project at the 2018 HTX Youth Summit panel, discussing issues that have been brought up at our block parties time and time again: safety, skyrocketing property taxes, and the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the housing market. The summit was founded and is organized by youth, for youth, and it's a rare but absolutely necessary space in our city, and in the world.
It was a powerful hour sitting in front of a hundred or so teenagers--teenagers that I used to be, and in some ways, still am, as I continue to grow and evolve coordinating the East End Block Party project. I grew up in Denver Harbor, just east of Houston's 5th Ward, and being in that space with the students felt like home, though they came from all over Houston: Magnolia Park, 2nd Ward, 3rd Ward, Northside, 5th Ward, Sunnyside, and more. They were curious and thoughtful and passionate, everything I had tried to be at that age. I cannot stress enough how honored and humbled I was to have been asked to be a resource for them in this way, in addition to panelling with some of the most brilliant community organizers working in Houston today.
Houston's youth deserve the mic and not just a seat at the table, but the seat at the head of the table. So I'm letting them speak for themselves through these images--here are a few things they identified as issues in and goals for their neighborhood, during one of the summit's group activities.