The 2021 Colorado Youth Diversity Conference will feature 41 workshops on a wide variety of topics, all chosen by the Student Executive Committee.

Below is a list of the various workshop options available to students and educators attending the Colorado Youth Diversity Conference in January 2021. You can also download a PDF copy of the workshop descriptions here.

An #ActuallyAutistic Tour of the Spectrum

Presented by
Kierstin Miller

This workshop is a crash course on autism, the autistic community, and the neurodiversity movement. Led by an autistic self-advocate, this workshop will break down stereotypes and misconceptions about autism in order to help clarify who we are, what we think about ourselves, and how we perceive and interact with the world. It will also provide participants with the tools to support autistic friends and family and the language to advocate alongside us. 

Art and Social Justice

Presented by
Creative Strategies for Change

Learn the art and history of hip-hop elements (dance/lyrics/beats/visual) and its social justice context in a full body immersion. Create a rap, dance or graffiti social justice piece while exploring your own sense of style and expression!

Black Girl Joy! Finding Strength in Our Collective Brilliance

Presented by
Eaglecrest High School Sisterhood

In this workshop, we will celebrate Black girl joy by discussing the brilliance and strength of the historical lineage of Black/African American women. We will explore and identify what it means to be young Black women in today’s world, and how collective identity provides resilience, self-love, and empowerment.

Can You Make Yourself Happier? In 2020? During Two Pandemics?

Presented by
psychologists Lisa Geissler, Jamie Higa and Jessica Pfeiffer

Students will learn about the neuro-biological basis of emotion, and participate in a discussion about trauma, depression, anxiety, and stress. Special emphasis will be placed on psychological tools to cope with difficult thoughts and emotions—something that everyone has! Local psychologists in-training will provide you with some useful strategies on how to regulate and feel a little better during these difficult times.

Changing the Narrative: Unpacking Bias

Presented by
the Office of the Independent Monitor of Denver’s Kids and Cops Program

This interactive workshop engages community members in a discussion about personal biases and how they impact perceptions and behaviors between law enforcement and community. The workshop allows participants to reflect on how biases show up in both their professional and personal lives. The workshop is intended to promote self-reflection, self-accountability and personal growth through dialogue and creation of action steps.

Columbine Survivors Speak

Presented by
The Rebels Project

Two survivors of the Columbine shooting speak on their experience as mass shooting victims as well as answer questions about their experience.

Dismantling Rape Culture and Preventing Sexual Violence: Youth Movements to Create a Culture of Change

Presented by
the Movement to End Sexual Assault

This session will explore the power youth have within the sexual violence prevention movement; including how to intervene and dismantle rape culture. The workshop will also include tips on supporting friends and family when they disclose instances of sexual violence. Presenters will utilize activities and discussions to explore rape culture and the continuum of violence and identify and practice ways youth have power to intervene, honoring the diverse lived experiences, identities, and personalities of those in the space. Participants will be asked to keep an open mind, be respectful of other participants, and honor the shared values that are co-created at the beginning of the session. 

Dispelling Stereotypes of Modern Native Americans in 2021

Presented by
Spirit of the Sun

This workshop will help young people meet modern Native American youth, to learn about the diversity within the Native community and dispel stereotypes about Native Americans.  We’ll have an open and frank discussion on how these stereotypes have been formed, but more importantly how we can end them.

Dress Code and Social Justice

Presented by
Girls Inc of Metro Denver

Learn about the history and current issues surrounding dress codes in schools. We will discuss sexism, cultural bias and racism in school dress codes, student movements and impact, and ways to speak out about policies in your school.

Empowering You to Prevent Suicide

Presented by
Joy as Resistance

In this session, participants will gain insight and information into the risk factors students face when it comes to suicide. We’ll debunk some myths and face some hard truths. The goal? To feel empowered to support ourselves and one another, working toward prevention of suicide in our community.

Fear of Men in the Time of Shadow Masculinity

Presented by
Dr. Steve Rissman, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Roots and Solutions. Dr. Rissman and his students will present the roots causes of the why men feel alienated and perhaps defensive. They will then lead participants in theorizing/creating solutions for inviting boys/men to step out of the shadow and into full presence as men.

Feminism in 2021

Presented by
Womxn’s March Denver

What does it mean to be a feminist today? Join womxn of all ages for a multi-generational conversation about how to combat and eradicate sexism and misogyny.

The Four I’s of Oppression

Presented by
Regan Byrd

Racism, classism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of oppression occur at different levels: ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internal. Why does this framework matter? Because each of these levels are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Any effort to dismantle oppression must address all four of these levels. We’ll talk about the four I’s of oppression using specific examples to understand the different ways we need to tackle it.

Gender Fluid: Fluctuating between ‘Male’ and ‘Female’

Presented by
TRUE Center for Gender Diversity at Children’s Hospital Colorado

The first half of the workshop will provide an overview of the differences among biological sex or sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as well as some common gender-related terminology. Opportunities to engage and consider your own gender development and gender non-conforming experiences will be encouraged. Attendees will accomplish this through personal reflection and participating in a “gender walk” (group exercise where participants take steps in different directions around the room to respond to gender-related questions/experiences). The second half of the workshop will focus more specifically on the gender identity of ‘gender fluid.’ This will include a description of gender fluid, video clip examples of gender-fluid experiences, discussing common areas of difficulty/discrimination, brainstorming ways to make spaces safer for gender-fluid individuals, and practicing using gender affirming language.

George Floyd Protests & Policing Reform

Presented by
The Office of the Independent Monitor of Denver

This workshop seeks an opportunity for youth to engage with local law enforcement through intentional dialogue. The workshop will discuss the impact of the death of George Floyd, the subsequent protests in 2020, and what youth expect for policing reform.

Hate Crimes? Youth Decide the Verdict

Presented by
the Colorado Lawyers Committee Hate Crimes Education Task Force

In this workshop lawyers will lead an interactive session on Colorado’s Hate Crimes Statute.  The lawyers will present a case involving criminal hate crimes. At the conclusion of the trial, small discussion groups of students will become “juries” to discuss the issues presented and, with the assistance of an adult facilitator, reach a verdict. The group will also discuss diversity in their community and the value of preventing the spread of racial slurs and hateful actions.

A Holocaust Survivor Speaks

Presented by
Eric Cahn

A survivor of the Holocaust will share stories about living through a period of time where diversity and respect for others was at its lowest point in human history. Most importantly, participants will understand why we must never forget what happened in the Holocaust.

How Much Does it Cost to Live (and Survive) in Colorado?

Presented by
the Colorado Center on Law and Policy

How much does rent cost?  Childcare?  Food and gas?  We’ll use the self-sufficiency standard research done by the Women’s Foundation of Colorado to explore and understand how much it takes for families to live and survive in different parts of the state.

How to Survive When You Go Homeless

Presented by
Denver Homeless Out Loud

If you were to go homeless, how would you survive? What would you include in your backpack? What would you keep and what would you need to leave behind? Where would you eat and how can you make sure you get nutritional balance? How would you make friends? We will teach participants what is involved in homelessness for a deeper understanding of this marginalized and misunderstood population.

Human Trafficking of Youth in Colorado

Presented by
the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking

Youth and young adults hold specific vulnerabilities directly tied to their identity.  These vulnerabilities connect to age, adult authority relationships, access to economics, sexual and gender identity, race, color, education, etc.  Because of the specific vulnerabilities that youth hold, it is imperative that engagement on issues such as exploitation and interpersonal violence are had in order to create a space for prevention and protection through intentional partnership. This training will explore the root causes of the crime of trafficking and the myriad of intersecting identities, vulnerabilities, and social and systemic inequalities that can lead to trafficking. Understanding root causes and complex trauma is key to recognizing the crime in its many forms. Youth will be guided through a trauma-informed framework to connect personal and community aspects to at-risk experiences.

Impacting Perceptions: Evolving Views of Social Identities to Promote Self-Love and Social Justice

Presented by
Hailima Yates, Luv Mrk

We project what is within, which is why Impacting Perceptions is a transformative, interactive workshop challenging the messages measuring a person’s value which influences how we treat ourselves and others. Impacting Perceptions consists of illusions, videos, hands-on exercises, experiential activities, and thought-provoking group discussion to understand how our views are developed and what choices we make because of those beliefs. As we uncover these origins, from personal experiences and our environment to the media, we can un-accept disparaging perceptions as truth. Participants walk away feeling empowered to know their worth, as well as consciously minimize and cease mistreatment of people due to their race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, creed, religion, politics, socioeconomic background, sexuality, physical and cognitive abilities, age, and appearance.

The Indigenous on Reservations Are Seeds in the Ground

Presented by
Spirit of the Sun

We will be talking about the controversy regarding indigenous land, including the ties of the indigenous to nature and their homelands. In order to educate non-indigenous people we will be talking about the systematic oppression of reservations, as well as discuss why the indigenous don’t call their land “reservations.”

Intersectionality 101

Presented by
Syah Taylor, Rainbow Alley

Participants will learn the basics of identity and intersectionality through fun interactive activities and connecting with others through dialogue.  Participants will then be able to connect their own experiences with identity to larger concepts such as privilege, stereotyping, and oppression.  This workshop is perfect for those who need an introduction into intersectionality or want to deepen their understanding of social justice concepts.

Islam and Islamophobia

Presented by
Dr. Reema Wahdan

Islamophobia is the discrimination and oppression of Muslims. This workshop will serve as an open forum for students and adults to ask questions freely as they learn some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the Islamic faith and Muslim people. This session will also help participants understand how xenophobia against any race, religion or ethnicity should not be tolerated.

Know Your Rights

Presented by
Padres & Jóvenes Unidos

Know Your Rights training is an interactive session to teach students their constitutional rights when interacting with law enforcement. The session will include interacting with police as well as ICE agents.

Left vs. Right: Politics and Diversity

Presented by
Corey Jones

Have you have ever had a debate, conversation or argument with someone with different political views? Maybe you feel uncomfortable sharing your views with others, for fear of being judged or criticized. If so, then you’ll want to attend this fun and interactive workshop to learn how to respectfully engage others in meaningful conversations about the issues that affect our world.

LGBTQ+ Youth Voices

Presented by
Inside/Out Youth Services

Join youth from Inside/Out Services in Colorado Springs for an open-ended conversation and forum for students who identify as LGBTQ+.  We’ll share stories, examine terminology, identify successful strategies to prevent bullying, discuss how to create empathy, and anything else you want!

The Movement for Black Lives: Revisiting Its History, Exploring Its Future

Presented by
Dr. Apryl Alexander, BLM5280

Although the Black Lives Matter movement has existed since 2013, this year it became the biggest social justice movement in global history. In this workshop, we will discuss the history of the movement and its aims for equality and equity. Further, the workshop will discuss the local movement and how young people can become involved.

My Ethics versus Your Values

Presented by
Effley Brooks, University of Denver

This interactive workshop will challenge students to explore their ethics and values that have been formed throughout their lives. They will face ethical dilemmas and practice communication techniques when faced with different thinking. There will be laughter!

Power, Privilege, and You

Presented by
Project Voyce

When young people in historically oppressed communities are looking for truth, power and collective liberation–they come to Project VOYCE. Revolutionary youth-adult partnerships require a deep understanding and integrated discussions of power and privilege for transformative social change. This workshop will include active, engaging discussions of positionality and the impact of the multicultural self. Ale and the rest of Project VOYCE youth facilitators look forward to sharing our youth-led workshop with you!

Self-Care is Anti-Racism Work

Presented by
Asia Lyons

It can sometimes feel like the end of oppression is right around the corner. But what if it’s not?  This session is about the value of self-care in anti-racist work. We will discuss practical ways to implement self-care to our fight against racism so that we can continue our work for years to come. This session if focused mainly on supporting BIPOC folx.

Small Mosquito Bites

Presented by
Building Bridges

This workshop will guide participants through an interactive activity and discussion on microaggressions, how they manifest, and the harmful impacts they have on others. This workshop is led by students.

Spoken Word 101

Presented by
Assétou Xango

Step inside this workshop and learn how to express your thoughts and feelings through creative writing, poetry, and spoken word. Give voice to our stories of love, struggle, injustice, and celebration. With our words, we can represent our culture and traditions as we strengthen our minds and better our communities.

Understanding Immigration and Immigrants

Presented by
Marissa Molina,

We hear a lot of talk about immigration and immigrants from politicians and in the media.  But how many immigrants have you met directly?  Join us for this workshop where a panel of guest speakers will share their immigration stories and help us challenge our stereotypes on this politically hot topic.

We Hold These Truths: How Diverse and Inclusive is Your US History Curriculum?

Presented by
Hayley Breden and Diana Bustamante-Aguilar, Denver South High School

US History classes across the country vary widely in the content, curriculum, and events they include and exclude. Often, it’s up to students and teachers to take initiative to teach and learn accurate, inclusive history courses in which our country’s history is not sugar-coated and people of all races and backgrounds are represented. In order to fully understand our present, students must gain a full understanding of our nation’s past, no matter how uncomfortable learning that history may be. This workshop, led by a history teachers and students, will help high school students stretch their learning beyond the textbook to make sense of our past and present. We will analyze our own history class experiences and then identify and develop plans for learning and teaching a more inclusive US History curriculum.

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?… How the #%$& Do I Know?

Presented by
Jenn Marshall, SPHERE Education

Ok seriously?!? I haven’t even been alive for 20 years yet and people expect me to plan the rest of my life? Let’s be honest—trying to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life is scary, stressful, & kind of stupid. Who you are at 18, 22, 25, 29 – are VERY different people. How do I decide on a major for college? How do I know if college is the right path? What happens if I change my mind? Where do I go to college? Do I take a gap year? Join us for this insightful, comical, and real look at what it means to plan the rest of your life. It might change your life, at least for now.

What Happens When You Look Different and Learn Differently?

Presented by
Zoe and Nancy Lee

In this workshop, a high school student and parent will share their stories about navigating years of racism, sexism, and neurotypical prejudices within the public school system. Zoe Lee will share her experiences as a female student of color with learning differences. Nancy Lee will talk about her experiences as a parent, advocate, and mental health professional. Both will provide action steps you can take as a student, parent, or professional to improve meaningful inclusion and equity in your school.

What Interfaith Dialogue Really Looks Like

Presented by
the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

Join leaders from the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and learn about how people from all the world’s religions can work together to create a more just and unified world. This participatory workshop will include leaders from a variety of faiths, and together, we will do more than just talk about religions working together—we’ll get to do it.

Who Is Your Character? Perspectives and Diversity

Presented by
Ryan Foo, Black Actors Guild

Students will work with the facilitator to ask deep, introspective questions about the nature of self, character, and actor. We will use acting games and improv exercises to have fun and explore these concepts as direct experience.

Why Your Generation is Different in the Fight for Gender Equality

Presented by
Greta Karris

What does it take to be an advocate for gender equality? Soon enough, your generation will tell mine. In this workshop, you’ll learn some basics on what women and girls face worldwide, and how your generation is changing the fight for equal rights and opportunities. We will examine some of the strengths and limitations of using social media in gender equality advocacy, and analyze the voices and stories we hear in the media for what they say and who they include. You’ll walk away with some concrete strategies for advocating for gender equality. Then, you will tell your school and community what should change … and how.

Youth Decarceration

Presented by
the ACLU of Colorado

Today, the United States incarcerates more young people than any other country in the world. Spending on youth incarceration continues to stretch local and state budgets and divert resources from other critical public needs, including education. The ACLU believes in tackling youth incarceration by redirecting resources to community-based alternatives to jail and prison. In this workshop, the ACLU of Colorado will share information on its work to end the use of youth solitary confinement and physical abuse, end glaring racial disparities in the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and how students can advocate for juvenile decarceration during the 2021 legislative session.

You can return to the Colorado Youth Diversity Conference main page here.