Memphis teens get crash course in diversity

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Benjamin L. Hooks Library is hosting a Diversity Camp this week for teens 13 through18 years old.

Over the five-day camp, guest speakers will discuss topics like religion, politics, sexual identity, and how to navigate and find common ground with people who share different beliefs.

“You’re really at a point in your teenage years where you’re exploring who you are and how you fit in the world,” said Christine Weinreich, who is with the Memphis Library Foundation. “This is a way to make sure that the world is expanded.”

Diversity Camp Director Disante Johnson said he hopes the camp helps kids navigate through the ever-changing landscapes of their lives.

“It might be things that they have never been introduced to before,” Johnson said. “We just hope that they take the parts they found the most interesting and continue to develop understanding once camp ends.”

Camper Zaire Chapman attends school virtually through Tennessee Connections Academy. She said she enjoys attending school online, but it doesn’t offer much real-world experience dealing with people of different races, religions, and political viewpoints.

“You don’t even see each other’s faces at online school most of the time,” Chapman said. “It’s really hard to connect like that.”

She also told Action News 5 that it’s been invigorating to be with peers in-person from multiple different backgrounds.

She added that it’s bridging a gap that she’s felt between herself and some of her long-time friends.

“I have a lot of biracial friends, so being able to learn things here to communicate with them better is just great,” Chapman said.

Applications for all Explore Memphis Camps through the Memphis Public Library are currently closed.

However, if you’re interested in any of the programs listed, click here with Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library.

Their telephone number is (901) 415-2700.

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