Black Youth Leadership Project (BYLP), a non-profit, non-partisan youth civic education and leadership development organization, will host its second annual Black Graduation and first ever Prom during its 2021 Celebration Weekend, June 18-19.
“The past year and a half has been challenging for all of us, but it has been especially difficult for our youth,” said BYLP President and CEO Lorreen Pryor.
“The coronavirus has robbed so many of our children of important milestones that they will never get back, so we wanted to give the class of 2021 the opportunity to be celebrated and have the space to just be kids” Ms. Pryor continued.
BYLP’s Celebration Weekend was developed to give students that have had their high school experiences interrupted by the coronavirus “a little taste of normal.”
While there has been a reduction in infection rates throughout the state, and increased availability of vaccines, many schools remained closed or had an abbreviated school year. As a result, few if any have been allowed senior activities. This makes the second year in a row that high school seniors had limited interaction with their peers or commemorate their completion of high school. BYLP’s Celebration Weekend will give students the opportunity to have the prom that their predecessors were denied, and an in-person graduation ceremony with other Black students, where families and community can celebrate their academic achievement and their next step into college or career.
This year’s celebration will also include students who were promoted from preschool, elementary and middle school.
As a non-profit, volunteer-run, organization dedicated to developing the next generation of public leaders in California, BYLP is excited to hold these celebratory events. Organizers say they want to do their part to preserve these important milestones for Black youth and give them the opportunity to express themselves in a way they are unable to during the past two years.
“Our kids need this,” Ms. Pryor said.
“They have spent two school years in distance learning, navigating programs of various quality, and they are burnt out. They need to dance at prom. They need to walk across the stage at graduation while their community cheers for them. BYLP’s Celebration Weekend will
give them these opportunities and send them into the world with new memories, and some hope for their futures beyond the pandemic,” she said.
For more information on how a graduate can participate, call Ms. Pryor at (916) 513-7959 or visit www.bylp.org.