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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Social justice talk at Ulrich highlights empowerment of youth

“We have too many conversations about the future — without the future at the table,” Marquetta Atkins-Woods, mentor and the founder youth program at Camp Destination Innovation, said during a “social justice talk” at the Ulrich Museum of Art.

Atkins-Woods discussed the involvement of young people in social justice and the burden placed onto future generations.

“You shouldn’t have to carry this mess that’s not yours,” Atkins-Woods said. “So my drive is, at some point, we have to stop passing on things that are harmful to the next generation.”

Ksenya Gurshtein, modern and contemporary art curator for the museum, highlighted the importance of looking to history to work through social justice topics.

“To me, it made a lot of sense that if we’re going to look at historical figures who were really invested you know, very personally, fighting for social justice, that we should look at what’s happening here and now and be a platform and a way of connecting people to what’s happening here and now,” Gurshtein said.

Atkins-Woods explained that it was important for this talk to be held in the Ulrich Museum.

“Young people are just inspired by the work, and so you know, art and social justice are married, they go hand-in-hand,” Atkins-Woods said.

According to Atkins-Woods, young people are the key to political change.

“I could have went a thousand different directions, but making sure that I kept that centered around young people, because when you think about any great thing that happened in the world, youth are a catalyst,” she said.

Although Atkins-Woods focused on mentoring youth, she also ensured that adults were held accountable through policy, investment, and even creating a healthy environment at home.

“I’m a firm believer that the most powerful community and social justice work starts at home,” Atkins-Woods said. “So if you’re doing something in your home that’s harmful, that you shift it so that you create a healthy environment.”

Jay Wyrick, a sophomore art education major, appreciated the talk’s focus on equality, burnout and community.

“It’s made me realize I have power to just be my own self,” she said.

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About the Contributors
Genesis Merriett
Genesis Merriett, Reporter
Genesis Merriett is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. She is a sophomore majoring in mathematics, however, Merriett enjoys writing as well. She is originally from Missouri, but lived in Colorado for most of her life until moving to Wichita five years ago. Additionally, she enjoys drawing, crochet and exploring new places in her free time.
Mel Bright
Mel Bright, Former reporter
Mel Bright was a reporter and photographer for The Sunflower. When Bright is not in school, they loves to dance, act and they do photography on the side for fun. Bright uses they/them pronouns.

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