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Community explores violence from a teenager’s point of view

 

Smith, T.G. (1994, August). Community explores violence from a teenager’s point of view. Nation’s Cities Weekly, 17(31), 1.

 

OVERVIEW

Community organizations are taking more of a responsibility to "patch the holes in the support fabric that wraps our children in a safe, healthy environment." The strategy is to provide developmental rings of support for youth through partnership and collaborations with multiethnic service agencies. Through outreach and activities, ties between teen communities of color bring different ethnic groups together. Forums and peace walks have proven to be community activities which attract large numbers of participants. As young people share experiences and mingle with different kids, stereotypes of certain groups are often shattered. Community activities provide young people opportunities to make new friends and learn about different cultures. One young person who had participated in a culturally-rich forum shared, " ‘Wow! This forum is really cool, I wish some of the guys were my sisters and brothers. It’s great how well we get along!…Never before have I seen boundaries within cultural diversity so clurred…’ " During these community events, youth identify key community issues and problems and brainstorm solutions to these concerns. As they unite to solve community problems, their relationships and understandings of each other continue to strengthen.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. How often does your community attempt to bring diversity into large group events?
  2. What do you think are some of the key issues adolescents in your community face today? How does multiculturalism affect these issues? Are any of these issues related to racial or ethnic tensions? Can any of them be solved through uniting young people from different ethnic groups?
  3. To solve problems, why do teens often turn to their peers before turning to adults?

IMPLICATION

Racism is real. Schools and community organizations need to accept more responsibility to ease the tension of discrimination. Forums, workshops, and other programs can generate more discussion about racism. Creating situations where youth can personally meet friends of different color helps erase damaging stereotypes.

Yvonne Lam cCYS