One of Silver Lining Mentoring’s young people, EJ, presented at the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition Youth Empowerment Conference along with Program Supervisor Evan Hubbard. The goal of the conference is to provide a safe space for LGBTQ Youth of Color to connect with each other, share resources and skills, and discuss ways to create social change.
EJ and Evan’s workshop, New Identities, New Experiences, was designed for youth and young adults who are adjusting to a shift in identity. Throughout the workshop, Evan and EJ shared anecdotes from their own experiences to remind youth adjusting to a new identity that they are not alone and to validate the range of emotions that young people feel when exploring new aspects of their identity. EJ and Evan also discussed the intersections of race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, class, ability, religion and more.
For EJ, this experience was an offshoot of his involvement in Silver Lining Mentoring’s LGBTQ initiative, which he has been involved in for two and a half years. The LGBTQ initiative provides young people with a mentor who identifies as LGBTQ or as an LGBTQ ally, as well as an intentionally safe space for youth to come as they are. After participating in the initiative for a couple of years, EJ felt equipped and empowered to share his own story in order to support other youth.