The Summer Youth Institute (SYI) started in 2010 with the support of Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. From the beginning young people guided the process for the creation of the program.
High School students from Jackson, Mississippi, especially members of the Civil Rights Civil Liberties club helped inspire the concept by the work they had done over the years asking tough questions and pushing for action in their High Schools. Later, William Winter Institute interns helped come up with several youth oriented projects that would help spur more youth activity and interns proposed the ideas to Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Ms. Evers-Williams loved the idea of a summer program to help empower students. She noted that supporting young people would honor her late- husband’s legacy best. The Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation gathered young people and youth advocates from around the state to ask them what a summer program would look like and going off their advice the Summer Youth Institute was created.
Over the past few years the Summer Youth Institute has learned much about providing an amazing experience for young people. Young people help critique and analyze the program at the end of each SYI to help us perfect the program. We continually look to young people to help us perfect the Summer Youth Institute.