Youth, Diversity and Ethnic Studies
Excerpt from an Interview with Theresa Tran
Theresa Q. Tran is a youth program specialist at the Michigan
Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. She received her M.A. in Social
Work at the University of Michigan where she studied community
organizing with youth and families. Tran also serves on the board of
Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote—Michigan, working to increase
civic engagement of APIAs.
Youth are much smarter than adults tend to give them credit for, which is ironic since we were all youth once and know what being marginalized feels like. Youth know right away when something is unfair—they recognize it immediately but don’t always know what to do when they witness this unfairness. Or else, they’ve been socialized by adults to be complicit with the way things are.
At the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion's Youth Program in Detroit, our issues change each year with each new group of youth that join our program. One of our program principles is that youth should organize on the issues that they’re passionate about; that they are directly affected by. In our program, our youth decide on the issues they want to focus on as they are living those experiences. Last year, the group focused on disability justice, structural racism, strengthening alliance with LGBT communities, and immigration. This year’s group is focusing on Islamaphobia, educational justice, sexual assault against teen girls, and organizing youth to be better connected across the city.