2016’s FYRE Media Camp was held at the University Commons of Georgia State University under the theme of “Paint As Resistance.” We hosted 9 LGBTQ youth of color, comprising of 7 campers and 2 peer leaders, from across the Southeast with attendees traveling from as far as Texas.
From July 22nd to July 24th, campers received training in reproductive justice, with a focus on HIV criminalization as well as abortion stigma, culture, and beliefs. The goal of the camp was to teach the participants how to use art as activism through the medium of painting. Our RRASC Intern, Tierra Fenderson, and Program Specialist, Shayla Robinson, led the reproductive justice training workshops. We were also honored to have Mel Medalle, formerly of Sisterlove, lead our HIV Criminalization Workshop, which included very useful information regarding the current laws surrounding the criminalization of people living with HIV. Our artist and guest speaker, Angela Davis Johnson, was an Atlanta-based artist who was gracious enough to share her story, her work, and her skill set with the camp and led us in an exercise in which we painted our interpretation of events and themes related to activism and resistance.
At the end of the painting workshop, we held an art showcase at the Sisterlove MotherHouse, where each camper discussed the meaning behind their work with each other and those in attendance. On the final day, we closed the camp with workshops on Base Building and Organizing in the South, and strategies most useful for mobilizing marginalized communities in the South.
This year’s media campers were also part of our inaugural FYRE Health Advocacy Cohort, and will play a key role in our youth leadership development efforts in 2017.