CICS Scholars Fight Hate with the Anti-Defamation League

ADL Washington Trip 

Students on the 2015 Mission including CICS Northtown scholars Moriah (first row, center) and Naomi (top row, second from left)

“Sometimes people fail to treat other people with respect or dignity, sometimes accidentally. I want my school and my fellow classmates to feel as though they are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve,” says Patrick M, a rising CICS Northtown junior.

Patrick recently applied and was accepted to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission. As part of the mission, ten high school juniors from the Chicagoland area – along with over 100 student leaders from across the country – will come together in Washington D.C. for four days of workshops and other activities culminating in a tour of the National Holocaust Memorial Museum.  While on the trip, students meet with community leaders and as groups to discuss how they can stand up to bigotry, and the role that young people can play in breaking the cycle of hate.

When back in Chicago, the ten students who participated in the program will come together to work on a practical application of what they learned during their trip. Past projects have included bringing in a speaker, organizing a trip or tour, or working on a way to share the students’ own experience with their community. Students are also welcome to participate in further ADL activities and are invited to speak at an ADL board meeting to continue their engagement with the organization.

Naomi B., a CICS Northtown student who was selected to be part of the mission last year, said that, “Before I went on the trip, I didn’t know what to expect. The trip turned out to be such an eye opener to me, though. I met people I would’ve never met before. I heard stories that changed my views on a lot of situations and aspects. I left there more open-minded than I have ever been, and it’s allowed me to speak up when I feel like someone is getting bullied. One thing I learned in Washington was that you never know what someone is going through.”

Jessica Gall, Education Project Director for ADL Chicago, remarked that, “What I really love about Northtown is that we’ve been able to develop a relationship,” through the ADL mission cohort and several other anti-bias programs at the school, including training peer leaders in the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® model. She continued, “Patrick had a fantastic essay, and he impressed us with his involvement in his school community. He was able to articulate practical ways he can make a difference through the LGBT ally and peer leadership groups at Northtown.”

The ADL continues to partner with CICS Northtown in holding leadership trainings to work on social justice initiatives at the school. “Any time you are trying to enact institutional change, where you are really trying to change the culture, it’s hard work,” said Ms. Gall, “I’m glad that we’ve been able to keep that relationship going and support CICS Northtown in the work they do.”

Congratulations to Patrick on his acceptance to the 2016 Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission, and thank you to Ms. Gall, the ADL and Mr. Steel at CICS Northtown for collaborating on the outstanding programs for CICS Northtown! 

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