Step up, Step up!

by Elise Kennedy


I recently attended the Shine for Justice Retreat at Silver Lake Conference Center. I spent the weekend with a small group of teenagers, having discussions about racial justice and learning about leadership. It was a weekend full of serious conversations, interesting activities, and learning.

The main thing we talked about at the retreat was racial justice. We discussed racism and it’s deep roots, how people are socialized to form different ideas about race, how race can cause divides in our society and how to fix these divides. I learned a lot of things about racism that I hadn’t known. The discussions we had and the activities we did helped me learn and have a better understanding of what racism is. 

Over the weekend, everyone had moments where they put themselves out there and were vulnerable. We had created an environment for one another here everyone felt comfortable sharing their thoughts. This sharing helped the whole group learn and made all of think more. The things we talked about weren’t easy topics to discuss, but having the conversations we did were beneficial to everyone. Even when I wasn’t sharing, my thoughts were constantly in motion, taking in everyone’s words and forming my own ideas.

I’ve taken a lot away from my time at the retreat.I had many opportunities to put myself out there and share my thoughts. That is something that I know will help me grow as a leader. The discussions that we had about racial justice have taught me many things that I want to keep with me. I know that I want to do my part in dismantling racism. As someone who wants to do their part in working for God in someway, I know that the lessons I learned at the retreat can help guide me. I’m grateful that I was able to be part of such an amazing group, and to have gained so much.
-Elise Kennedy

Elise Kennedy

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