The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation has announced the date of the 13th annual Youth Social Justice Forum on Wednesday, November 28. The daylong event brings together community partners, Milwaukee-area schools and nonprofit organizations to teach high school students to celebrate and exercise their rights and protect their liberties. The event is free to participating high schools and will be held at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

“The Constitution doesn’t just protect the rights of adults,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation Youth and Programs Director Emilio De Torre. “But when young people learn about how the Constitution affects their daily lives, it’s great to see them get excited about their rights and responsibilities with the First Amendment, police and in their schools. Youth Social Justice Forum is a crash course in teaching youth about effective citizen action.”

The Youth Social Justice Forum program uses realistic role-play, hands-on workshops and hot topics from the news about the rights of young people. Students will learn about new media, public art, civics and government and will be offered a chance to discuss racial profiling, bullying, LGBT rights and other topics relevant to youth rights and responsibilities. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about restorative justice and peace circles.

To directly experience what it is like to vote, students will participate in a mock election using actual voting machines supplied by the City of Milwaukee Election Commission. This year the election topic will be police-community relations in the City of Milwaukee. Given recent events in Milwaukee, the discussion of race, racial profiling and police relations will be overarching themes throughout the 24 workshops.

Special thanks to community partners including the ACLU Student Alliance at Alliance High School, ACLU Student Alliance at Alverno College, ACLU Student Alliance and Amnesty International at Rufus King HS, ACLU Student Alliance at UW-Milwaukee, City of Milwaukee Election Commission, MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities, Milwaukee Public Theatre, NAACP, TRUE Skool, Public Allies, UWM Cultures and Communities, UWM Peck School of the Arts, Urban Underground, and the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee.

Please email Emilio De Torre, Youth and Program Director at or call (414) 305-8569 by November 18th if your school is interested in participating.  Space is limited and registration will be on a "first come first served" basis. Lunch will be provided through UWM's catering services.