Inauguration Detox offers teens a therapeutic space for discussion

Splayed on the table were face masks and initiatives on how to revolutionize, important dates of rallies and protests, and phone numbers of important hotlines and organizations: ingredients necessary for Inauguration Detox: event hosted by Things Magazine this past Saturday in Cambridge, MA.

Post-election sentiments hit many, especially for those who could not directly impact the election — namely, high school students under the age of 18. Things, arts-focused online publication serving as a vehicle specifically for indie teen artists to showcase their work, led an open forum-gathering for teens to come together and discuss Trump’s inauguration and current events. The temporary safe space also provided warm beverages — tea and hot chocolate — and arts and crafts materials in the Democracy Center in Harvard Square.

The zine’s first meetup of 2017, the evening began with staff writers, readers and friends opening with icebreakers around a close-knit circle. Everyone was encouraged to pick a prompt from a bowl, with fill-in-the-blank statements such as “one course of action I plan to take against this oppressive statement is…” or “this election impacts me because…” Recurring answers included more participation in upcoming matches and fear for Trump’s executive orders and anti-immigration policies, respectively. Participants came from several different backgrounds including Muslim, Hispanic, Black and Asian. Issues brought up ranged from the necessity of intersectionality in all movements to whether or not it’s possible to be friends with a Trump supporter. Icebreakers lead to a conversational, open discussion “moderated” by senior editors.

The event allowed students to get to know one another and also meet the faces behind the magazine — content creators and readership alike were all teens, 15-18 years old; it also connected youth deeply involved with politics and passionate about social justice. Both beauty treatments and candid discourse seemed to be effectively detoxifying for all.

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