I went to Yo!Fest knowing next to no one and left with what felt like a family bonded by a common cause — advocacy for a more equitable and inclusive European Union.
One of the most poignant moments of the event was the Privilege Walk. Through this exercise participants were given a physical representation of what privilege encompasses. To see that ALL of the people of colour were at the end of the line regardless of education and/or socioeconomic status was a wakeup call, not only for those at the end of the line but more importantly for those at the front.
To have had the chance to engage in thoughtful conversations with people I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to, was in and of itself was such a privilege. It was so enriching to see the future leaders of tomorrow so impassioned to make the world a better place — more than 8000 to be exact! Even more than the workshops, I was inspired by the one-to- one conversations that I had with other young people about their dreams, aspirations and even fears for the future. To be in an environment of such awe inspiring minds was humbling.
By the end of the trip I was fatigued and euphoric from all of the stimulation of the event. I found solace in knowing that my exhaustion came from doing something that truly made me happy. This trip was one of affirmation; an affirmation of who I am and where I want to be. Yo!fest exceeded any expectations I had of what I envisioned for this event. But more importantly I exceeded any expectations that I had for myself as well in the process. I would strongly recommend up and coming activists and leaders to attend this event. I will forever be grateful for the access that Yo!Fest gave me from the people I was fortunate enough to engage with to the invaluable perspectives and insight I gained.