BOSTON — On Friday, August 28, 2015, the Boston NAACP concluded the fourth year of our annual “Summer Job – Pipeline to Leadership Program” aimed at preparing the next generation of community leaders. The Program pays a stipend to 27 youth, referred to as “Pipeliners”, to work for the Boston NAACP while also receiving leadership training. These future leaders are all between the ages of 14 and 21 and hail from high schools throughout Greater Boston and some local colleges. The students provide a new face for civic engagement, community activism and social justice. “These youth receive the necessary experience and training that can transform a family and a community,” said Supreme Richardson, Boston NAACP 3rd Vice-President. “They will be required to think critically about issues of race and class, and to develop solutions.” In prior years, participants were introduced to the issue of police use of force and required to debate both sides of the issue. This year, the youth engaged in debates over recent incidents of police involved shootings in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland and South Carolina, and discussed the root causes of civil unrest (riots).
Over the eight week summer program, the students registered over 300 residents of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan to vote, and engaged hundreds of residents on the importance of voting. Pipeliners also participate in a Youth Citizens Academy, hosted by the Boston FBI. Pipeliners spent much of the summer learning history and engaging their peers on the issues of trauma and violence.
In terms of leadership, the students participated in trainings on public speaking, personal branding, canvassing, civic engagement, NAACP and Civil Rights history, mass incarceration, race and racism, financial literacy, conflict resolution, resume writing, event planning, as well as marketing and promotions and ethics. “Our hope is to expose these young men and women to the basic building blocks for effective leadership,” said Michael Curry, President.