Contemporary Youth Activism: Advancing Social Justice in the United States
A cutting-edge study showcases the emergence of contemporary youth activism in the United States, its benefits to young people, its role in strengthening society, and its powerful social justice implications.
At a time when youth are too often dismissed as either empowered consumers or disempowered deviants, it is vital to understand how these young people are pushing back, challenging such constructions, and advancing new possibilities for their institutions and themselves. This book examines the latest developments in the field of contemporary youth activism (CYA) and documents the myriad ways in which youth activists are effecting social change, even as they experience personal change. By taking public, political action on a range of intersecting issues, youth activists are shifting their own developmental pathways, shaping public policy, and shaking up traditional paradigms.
Section one of the book offers a historical perspective on youth activism in the United States, followed by a discussion of contemporary examples of CYA for social justice. The second and third sections analyze the individual, institutional, and ideological effects of CYA, arguing that youth activism works to promote change at three levels: self, systems, and in the broader society. Readers will come away with a clearer understanding of the many ways in which today's youth activists are working to reimagine and remake American democracy, reawakening the promise of a multi-issue, progressive movement for social justice.
• Presents a framework for understanding the role of youth activism in contemporary U.S. society
• Surveys the various issues, strategies, and organizational features in the field of youth activism
• Offers detailed portraits of youth responding to the pressing issues of our time, including police brutality in low-income communities of color, sexual assault on college campuses, environmental degradation caused by fracking, and the surge in unaccompanied minors coming to the United States
• Features a range of youth and adult voices, from senior scholars and rising stars in academe to youth activists and their adult allies
• Identifies lessons about how contemporary youth activism can help build a more just, inclusive, and responsive democracy
• Highlights the policy wins of youth activists and illuminates the ways in which they are shifting the political terrain while building power in their communities
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