Disable The Label (DTL), that title brings such fond memories, and Geneva park being home away from home. Filled with laughter, fun, connections, conversations, growth, learning, and of course lots of chocolate milk. DTL has held many individuals from many walks of life.
However this year we weren’t able to do that. We weren’t able to decorate our name tags, sit in our big community circle, or sit by the beautiful lake to soothe our souls. Gathering in the dinning hall to connect even further, and getting wild while lining up for chocolate milk. (I know I mentioned chocy milk before but it really is that big of a deal).
There was an unexpected turn of events this year due to COVID-19, and one of my first thoughts was “what is DTL going to look like this year?”. Not knowing what to expect or even if it would happen at all, I just knew this year was going to be different. And although with these unforeseen circumstances DTL was a go! Even if that meant it was going to be through our computer screens.
In a sense, I am sorry for those whose this is their first DTL, because they didn’t get to experience all of its wonders in its entirety. But DTL goes way deeper than that. It is something that isn’t physical, it’s magic and energy of all of our amazing agents of change.
As I know, I can’t speak for everyone but this DTL still felt like any other. We shared deep, meaningful conversations. We explored different areas of who we are. There was still so much vulnerability, bravery and with some tears being shed along the way. The DTL homies unified like we always do to address important matters and injustices within our society, and did important work in regards to anti-black racism. We spoke our truths with words or art, and allowed ourselves to grow. We still got to experience the TALENT of this group. DTL is its own community, I was still able to feel that and to see that. Along with being provided the space to build connections that are so precious and forever. All of this being thanks to the hard work of the hosting team, but also to the participants.
So, of course I will always say that an original DTL at Geneva park (with lots of chocolate milk) hands down takes the cake. But I’d be blind to not acknowledge that this year still held that same atmosphere even amongst zoom calls. The new mentality/DTL is family, and of course my home away from home.
Thank you to Zibby our Youth Media Ambassador for sharing his Disable the Label 2020 experience as an alumni of our Network!
If you are interested in becoming a Youth Media Ambassador for the New Mentality, please email firstname.lastname@example.org