Ziquelle Smalls was a participant in SLP '12, an Emerging Leader at The City School from September 2012 to August 2013, and currently serves as a youth staff member with The City School during the school year. They are a senior at Madison Park High School, and also serve on The City School Board of Directors.
How have you changed because of your first summer in SLP?
I could talk forever about this question! [laughs] Wow, life after my first SLP experience was definitely an eye-opener. It was weird, mostly because I have a parent who does this work, but I was never given those tools to identify or give oppression a name. And so SLP really gave me those tools to identify oppression and power and instilled in me those leadership skills that are things I can use forever, even outside of The City School, in movement work in general. And it really instilled confidence in me in challenging and questioning power. An example is battling my teachers around what's real and what isn't, around their adultism.
How have you continued your commitment to social justice beyond SLP?
I got in touch with a lot of organizations such as YJPU (Youth Justice and Power Union) and YAMI (Youth Against Mass Incarceration). And I work as a youth staff at The City School. I've been leading by example in my community and daily life. I take charge whenever a leadership position is really needed.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to keep doing movement work, and also be an educator. I have this dream of really being a radical black history teacher.
If you could have coffee with one social justice activist, who would it be and why?
Lately I've been wanting to meet Audre Lorde, but also Huey Newton. Maybe Malcolm? Who knows!
Profile Created October 2013