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DEI-HDT-SAYS COVID Diaries is a community-based participatory research project between Sacramento Youth Area Speaks (SAYS) and the UC Davis Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)’s Institute of Diversity, Equity and Advancement (IDEA).

The purpose of COVID Diaries is to empower students to feel like they have a role in their own health decisions. One of the most effective ways to help youths feel informed to make critical health decisions for themselves is if they are given platforms to express their own stories and experiences. The program consists of bringing poet mentors to teach students in under-resourced grades 6-12th in Sacramento County. Through the use of a customized curriculum, photovoice, spoken word, and focus groups, students will tell their own stories and experiences living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of this project is to help reduce the spread of COVID in marginalized communities in urban areas, in particular the Black and Latinx communities, by encouraging youth of color in Sacramento County to become health advocates in their own communities. The program will culminate in a final product (such as an anthology of poems, poetic service announcement videos, or spoken word performances ) which will be shared by the students through virtual exhibits they themselves will help organize.