Youth Congress 2013


On June 11, 2013, the Winter Institute held the Evers Youth Congress in Jackson. Nearly 50 Mississippi eighth through twelfth graders participated.

The Evers Youth Congress was designed to help students expand their knowledge of, understanding of, and appreciation for Medgar Evers’ life and civil rights legacy; this familiarity helps them understand their responsibility to their communities and develop models for current youth leadership and activism in Mississippi. After exercises that grew their community-building skills and organizing acumen, such as a cultural mapping exercise that lifted up everyone’s many differences and commonalities, they left the Youth Congress better equipped to serve their communities.

The Winter Institute brought in individuals with expertise in early childhood education, policy development, and civil rights and civil liberties.  The experts served as sounding boards for the students’ ideas and helped answer their many questions.

Evers Congress participants got to learn about the life and legacy of Mr. Medgar Wiley Evers from a video presentation, discussion led by Winter Institute staff, and, most amazingly, from an open forum and conversation with Myrlie Evers-Williams, an internationally known and respected activist and educator in civil rights and social justice and Mr. Evers’ widow.

Students also participated in brainstorming sessions for policy solutions that they felt could remedy the issues most negatively affecting young people in the state of Mississippi and the communities that they come from. They used the results of their brainstorming to help them develop a policy platform that will be presented to and used by state policy makers.  This exercise helped the students understand that leadership and agency are crucial to community success.

Winter Institute staff is currently working with participants of the Youth Congress to prepare the student platforms for presentation to state policy makers in time for the January 2014 Legislative Session.

The Winter Institute will work with Youth Congress participants to track progress on the legislation that addresses the issues and policy areas they felt needed to be addressed.  We will encourage   them to continue their local civic engagement and help them build their capacity to have greater impact.

If you have any questions about the Youth Congress, contact Von Gordon at

  • Medgar Evers:  An Unsung Hero Medgar Evers: An Unsung Hero

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