Monday, July 13, 2020
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Teen Vogue Summit inspires teens in L.A.

The first Teen Vogue Summit, the magazine’s first two-day event in Los Angeles designed to “inspire, encourage, and connect a new generation of activists, creators, and innovators, providing them with the insights and tools to change the world,” wrapped up on December 2, the New York Times reports.

Yes, there were the party frocks and make-up kits, the paper noted. As well as some blatant commercialism and the selling of products. There were also beanbag chairs on the lawn, though, filled with socially conscious young (and impressionable) people.

Editor Elaine Welteroth and digital editorial director Phillip Picardi also added a healthy dose of today’s political issues and “mentor” sessions to the mix, inviting flocks of young activists, inventors, and inspiring under-21’ers to present their message on this stage.

“We’re in this cultural moment of change, and we have to figure out how to navigate it,” Hillary Clinton said during her keynote address, which also encouraged girls not to look, necessarily, for the “perfect” candidate or to seek perfection as a goal. “There’s no such thing as a perfect human being,” she was quoted as saying. “Look for people who generally agree with you.”

Other invited presenters included US Rep Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, and

  • a 12-year-old patent-pending inventor
  • an advocate for tackling school segregation
  • Chloe x Halle, an R&B duo, who sang and led chants: “I am unstoppable,” “I am funny”
  • a girl who wakes up every day to convince others it’s OK to just “walk your truth”

After a panel discussion called “How to Be a Better Ally” concluded, one teen was completely charged up. “I’m totally new and improved,” the Times quoted her as saying. “I want to go out and change the world right now, but, like, the event is still going on.”

The event also included visits for many attendees at headquarters of companies like YouTube, Instagram, and 72andsunny.

Abbey Malbon, a student at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, was one of 50 lucky attendees who answered just a few prompts and won a scholarship to attend the conference. She wrote about it in Metea Media, the student news site at the high school, saying she could confirm the summit’s inspirational objective and mission:

In addition to the amazing business opportunities offered throughout the event, there were so many other life lessons taught. It is so important for young women to hear about success stories from other young women in order to “materialize” success. Throughout my entire experience I was exposed to hundreds of people openly having conversations about mental health, menstruation, empowerment, and representation.

Despite the current events occurring throughout the world at the moment, it was increasingly impactful to be exposed to a climate that is so extremely supportive and educated. After engaging with females from all different backgrounds, ages, and identities, I have renewed hope for women in the coming years.

For those who didn’t win scholarships like Abbey, about 600 tickets were available for purchase, at about $300 apiece. While the discussions may have focused on inclusion—and I can’t deny the magazine’s right to recover the expenses of putting it on—this and other conferences for professionals carry such a high price tag for attending that they can’t honestly be considered “inclusive.” Still, inspiring people to fight for important causes or empower women, despite the obvious glare of corporate America, can’t be a bad idea.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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