The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice held a three-day event called Anytown Leadership Institute at OSU Tulsa campus where 29 high school students from across the state attended. The group said they're teaching communication and leadership skills as well as cultural and religious awareness and discrimination.
Lola Barcus-Schafer is going to be a senior at Booker T. Washington. She's on the swim team and said she's learned a lot this week.
“I think just everyone’s definition is different and everyone perceives leaders differently. So I just think anyone can be a leader personally because I don’t think maturity necessarily comes with age and leadership doesn’t come with age," said Barcus-Schafer.
Diego Zaidle is also going to be a senior at Booker T. Washington and is the captain of his soccer team and said this event has opened his eyes. “Something I learned yesterday was a lot about gender identity cause we don’t discuss that at all at school and personally I don’t know where I would find that information and we just went over all these different genders and sexual orientations and all that stuff. It really opened my eyes," said Zaidle.
Organizers of the events said they are trying to point out to these students where they believe privilege and inequalities exist in the community.
“So some of the students have not seen themselves as leaders, but by the time they leave here they will see themselves as those that can lead themselves, lead their family, lead their friends to become part of the change that they want to see in this world," said Dewayne Dickens.
Anytown Leadership Institute is an annual event and they are hoping to be able to host 60 students next summer.