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The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Polk County, Polk County 4-H and City of Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission will hold its first “Power of Us Youth Summit” in July.

The summit is open to students who will attend high school this fall.

“The Summit’s goal is to engage youth in civil and human rights issues and empower them to use their voice and leadership to address challenges and highlight opportunities to make an impact locally and globally,” a release about the event said.

Des Moines East students Lyric Sellers and Endi Montalvo-Martinez will participate in the “Power of Us: Arts for Activism Showcase.”

Session topics for the event include:

*Criminal Justice
*Immigrants and refugees
*Civil rights history
*Anti-black racism
*Gender equality
*Racial justice and equity (including AAPI & BIPOC)

Tiffany Berkenes, the 4-H Youth Program Specialist, said participants will engage in conversations with local leaders about a variety of topics and the group hopes they walk away “inspired and more confident to turn their passion into action through projects they identify from what they learned.”

So, exactly who are Sellers and Montalvo-Martinez? They are activists involved with the Black Lives Matter movement.

In fact, Sellers and Montalvo-Martinez led the charge in having Des Moines Police officers removed from Des Moines Public Schools.

Montalvo-Marintez has joined in calls to fire DMPD Chief Dana Wingert and to defund the Des Moines Police Department.

Sellers has shared the idea that “white people do not experience racism.”

Sellers also joined in calls to defund DMPD. And shared a post calling President Donald J. Trump a “terrorist, child abuser, racist, scam artist, sexist, coward, liar, crook and criminal.” Sellers has called for abolishing the police.


Despite it all, 4-H’s Tiffany Bekernes is “thrilled” to welcome the anti-police activists as “student leaders.”

Author: Jacob Hall