Youth organizing presents myriad opportunities for young people to interpret, examine and analyze their personal experiences and their shared experiences with other marginalized communities. Young people also learn about the systems that impact their lives on a daily basis. Findings from our study show that youth organizers developed an awareness and understanding of the workings of social and political systems and how they can can gain access and influence to enact social change.
As a result of these rich learning experiences within youth organizing groups, youth were able to do the following:
- examine their personal experiences within a larger social and political context;
- gain a systems-level understanding of social issues including the school-to-prison pipeline, school closures, school infrastructure, youth employment, youth rights, and a host of other issues, which helped them broaden their range of strategies for addressing these issues;
- critically analyze and interpret data related to their campaigns and construct persuasive arguments for institutional and policy change;
- become fluent in a new language for making sense of the world and develop creative communication strategies to expressing their ideas about social issues.