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Value in Variety: Reflection on Day One’s You(th) Already Know! Conference

by Eleanor Crawford

I first heard about Day One’s You(th) Already Know! Conference during a phone interview I had for an internship at Day One.  I was already excited about the position, but became even more enthusiastic after learning that part of my job would be helping to plan a youth centered conference on intimate partner violence (IPV).  Day One’s dedication to include youth as participants in the conference, but also to empower them through leadership, education and creative input opportunities felt inspiring!  

Once I started working on the conference, my excitement grew as the specifics came together (finding a caterer caused an especially notable amount of excitement).  When we made decisions about which workshops to include, we realized that we had received an incredible variety of workshop proposals.  We had always intended to offer a diverse selection of lessons, but receiving so many unique submissions made it possible.  The featured topics didn’t cater to one type of person, but instead catered to the diverse interests of NYC youth.  How cool is it that we were able to include a lesson on “Domestic Violence and Immigration,” as well as the lesson “‘Oh My God, Becky:’ How Body Policing, ‘Thot’ Culture and Other Forms of Misogyny Impact Teens” at the same time during the conference?!  We thought it was pretty cool.

As a part of my Community Education Internship, I created a workshop to present at the conference titled: “From Flirting to Sex: The Importance of Consent in Every Stage of a Relationship.”  Workshops at the conference were supposed to discuss the intersections of IPV and other identity-based oppressions.  During a workshop brainstorming session I came up with the idea of exploring the connection between dating abuse and other issues I’m passionate about.  I’ve done a lot of work around consent and sexual harassment in school, which is why I chose to focus on sexual violence in relationships.  During the conference I led discussions and activities that got participants thinking about how getting consent is not thought of as part of flirting, starting a relationship, being in a relationship or having sex, when it really needs to be.  I was also able to discuss sexual abuse, as well as elements of power and control, because of what I learned at Day One.  The workshop had many moments where participants and I were talking about different norms in relationships and exclaiming, “how do people think this is okay?!”  (It was great though, because we then got to go deeper into this and actually talk about what makes people believe those things are okay and generate ways we can change that.)

The You(th) Already Know! Conference gave me an opportunity to combine multiple issues in order to educate an audience on a complex topic.  My internship with Day One has expanded my knowledge on IPV exponentially, which was very beneficial to my workshop and will continue to impact me throughout my career.  When I first started at Day One, I thought that coming in without extensive knowledge of dating violence would make me a less valuable employee.  The conference helped me to see that this is not the case at all!  I observed how valuable it was to have workshops on many different topics and saw that my workshop contributed to this variety.  The specificity of my knowledge, just like the expertise of every other amazing conference presenter, added resources to the day that wouldn’t have been there if everyone had taught an overview on IPV.  Day One is special because the organization brings together people with different experiences and focuses who have the shared intention of combating dating violence, which was especially apparent at the You(th) Already Know! Conference this May.