11/08/2004

Student Activism is Mix It Up Goal

Students across the country are gearing up for the third annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day, set for November 16.

Sponsored by Teaching Tolerance in collaboration with Study Circles Resource Center, Mix It Up at Lunch Day encourages students to swap seats in the school cafeteria as an effort to cross social boundaries.

Last year about 2 million students at more than 7,000 schools across the country participated in the event. With an increased focus on youth activism, this year's event is expected to be an even bigger success.

"We want youth to see that this is activism that can lead them to creating real, sustained change on their school campuses," said Mix It Up director Lecia Brooks.

"It's one thing for youth to do this because it's assigned. But when we empower youth to take charge of this activity and really organize it on their own, it's so much more meaningful," she said.

The Mix It Up project is reaching out to student leaders with new features on the Mix It Up website. A section titled 10 Steps to Take Action offers suggestions and guidance for student activists while a resource page provides links to existing youth activism organizations.

Mix It Up moved outside the lunchroom this past year, too. Mix It Up Dialogue Groups help students talk openly and honestly about social boundaries, and Mix It Up Grants provide up to $500 for youth-directed projects aimed at addressing school climate and boundaries.

A new artists' space on the Mix It Up website is planned for 2005, giving youth activists an arena to express their views on social boundaries through poetry and art.

"We are excited and optimistic about this year's Mix It Up at Lunch Day," said Jennifer Holladay, director of the Center's tolerance education programs. "This event is a great way to get students involved in questioning, challenging and changing the boundaries that define their schools and communities."

Students wanting to participate in Mix It Up at Lunch Day on November 16 can read what it's like, check out frequently asked questions, and download free posters, stickers, and T-shirt iron-ons.

Teachers can find out how to support Mix It Up at Lunch Day and how to Mix It Up in class.