Following the community response to events in Ferguson that occurred in 2014, various nonprofits, colleges and universities, businesses and school mobilized to form initiatives to address racial issues as a region. Among the initiatives formed, a number of high schools from different districts planned and participated in a number of Student Summits on Race, lead by the EducationPlus Gateway2Change movement. The Social System Design Lab lab was approached to host the fourth summit because of our prior engagement and ongoing collaborations in K-12 with Ritenour and Jennings School Districts and deep commitment to social justice issues. This summit event would become the first Changing Systems Youth Summit. The Changing Systems Youth Summit on Racism was a 3-day summit designed and facilitated by fourteen SSDL interns from Ritenour and Jennings high schools with training in systems thinking and system dynamics. Forty students from regional high schools participated in a series of group model building (GMB) workshops to address issues of structural racism in schools from a systems (or feedback) perspective to create positive social change.
Mission Statement: “We want to influence people’s perspectives on social justice to create less tension and promote unity within all communities and within ourselves.”