An ongoing movement to address racism in our community launched in 2020 by local youth has been documented in the new film entitled “Stand Together.” The hour-long documentary tells the story of Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading students’ Stand Together Against Racism (S.T.A.R.) initiative to address racism through education and dialogue that is initiated and facilitated by youth.
Directed by 11th grade student at Wilson High School and intern at VA Productions, Julia Adilman, the film is a testament to the power of youth to create change. “I am deeply grateful to have been given the opportunity to not only learn about S.T.A.R. but also give a voice to such an amazing youth-led initiative. What S.T.A.R. is doing for our community is so important, and it is imperative that their story is heard. I am privileged to have played a small part in their story.” said Adilman.
“Being a part of S.T.A.R. has taught me that my voice matters and I’m so grateful we are able to document our journey so far. I look towards the future of S.T.A.R. with great enthusiasm.” said Maddy Fratis, high school senior and S.T.A.R. cofounder.
Over the past 18 months the S.T.A.R. movement has engaged hundreds of people in education and awareness initiatives as well as projects supporting racial equity.
Projects of note include the following:
- Stand Together Against Racism pledge
- development of the educational yvc-star.org website
- “YVC Voices for Justice, Equality, and Inclusion” public art installation currently on display at the Berks County Courthouse
- Powerful Youth Perspective podcast
- Youth-led virtual discussions, and more.
The film will premiere publicly at 7 PM on Wednesday July 6, 2022 at the Goggleworks Theatre, 201 Washington St, Reading. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information on how to get involved or support the S.T.A.R. movement, visit www.yvc-star.org.
In a troubling and uncertain time in our nation, S.T.A.R has been a beacon of hope in our community. High school senior and STAR cofounder, Katie Schadler, remarked “As a youth-driven movement, Stand Together Against Racism is promoting the uncomfortable but necessary dialogue and emotion through the lens of young people. We are at a place in our nation where it is now up to the next generation to determine how we can heal from past and present inequitable systems and how we can treat each other in the future.”
Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading/Berks County focuses on promoting a lifetime commitment to service among youth by offering volunteer projects for youth ages 11 to 18 on Saturdays, after school, during school, virtually, and during the summer. YVC of Reading/Berks County, hosted by VOiCEup, is one of over 30 affiliates of Youth Volunteer Corps, headquartered in Kansas City. YVC of Reading/Berks County has engaged hundreds of young people from diverse backgrounds in over 24,000 hours of service to help this community over the past 6 years. Find more information at www.voiceupberks.org/yvc. VOiCEup Berks is a fund of Berks County Community Foundation.