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Conscious Gear Expo

Conscious Gear Expo (“CGE”) is guided by the philosophy that young people in our community, empowered with well-honed critical thinking and advocacy skills, are future and current leaders and thus essential partners in strengthening educational opportunities and other services in our neighborhoods.

One of Total Equity Now’s two programs designed specifically for middle and high school students, CGE engages local youth in identifying and analyzing pressing community challenges, proposing solutions, and creating thought-provoking t-shirts to spark conversations throughout the broader community. Each workshop includes conversations with local grassroots activists who are mobilizing the community around a range of causes, such as food justice and gang violence. Young people emerge from each Expo not only with custom-designed t-shirts, but more importantly, with a stronger understanding of community problem solving, their role in that process, and how to creatively rally others to a cause.

Our inaugural Conscious Gear Expo in July 2008 successfully engaged close to 100 NYC middle and high schools students. Over the past five years, nine Expos have helped more than a dozen youth development organizations—from local summer camps to pre-college leadership programs—provide hundreds of young people a community-oriented, youth-centered learning experience. Past CGE participants include youth from the Liberty LEADS Program at Bank Street College, NYC Mission Society’s Minisink Townhouse, the Urban Innovations Project, Harlem Children’s Zone, and the Community League of the Heights.