AlumniVideo

Alumni from Pittsburgh Teen Tech Center Lead Protests

Elizya Powell and Alexander Cash stand at the center stand in protest against police brutality

By Christine Monska, Youth Leadership Program Manager, The Clubhouse Network, and Aaron McKinnon, Coordinator, The Best Buy Teen Tech Center @ PHASE 4 Learning Center

They were quarantined, yet still maintained a connection. Like many of their peers throughout The Clubhouse Network, they too had to learn to navigate a new way of living. And as young adults embarking on their own lives, they have the responsibility to be aware and have their voices heard.

At The Best Buy Teen Tech Center @ PHASE 4 Learning Center in Pittsburg, PA, USA, alumni Elizya Powell, Alexander Cash, and Angela Barnett have stepped to the forefront to help bring about awareness and change.

Angela Barnett spent her Junior and Senior High School years at The Best Buy Teen Tech Center @ PHASE 4 Learning Center. Angela participated in an internship program where she focused on photography. She said, “I learned how to edit things, take cool pictures, and work like a real professional. I enjoyed it.”

Angela organized a peaceful protest in response to the murder of George Floyd and countless others. She was disappointed by other protests that resulted in some destruction of property and she was inspired to organize a protest of her own. She said, “It was a really great experience and I would totally do it again if needed. I feel like we got justice, somewhat.”

Elizya Powell and Alexander Cash participated in an interview with Aaron McKinnon (below), Best Buy Teen Tech Center Coordinator, where they shared reactions to George Floyd’s murder, reasons why they organized a protest, and aspirations for a more just future.

During the interview, Cash said that he was inspired to take a stand against police brutality because a family member of his had a harmful experience with police. He couldn’t understand why the police treated his sister’s mother with such disrespect. He said, “there are some cops out here that are good, but some of these cops are bad. That’s what I wanted to get out to show. During the protest, Elizya and Alexander offered police officers water as a peaceful gesture. “We don’t need violence to keep the peace,” said Elizya.

Following the protests, he said, “I just want to see people come together. We all breathe the same air and bleed red. We all have to go through life; we have family, kids, people we love, the same 24 hours… we see the same sun, moon, stars… everything. So, why is it about race?”

The protest started with Elizya and Alexander holding up a few signs and it resulted in the whole community showing up to stand in solidarity.

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