Teen Talk: Social Justice Conversations for Teens
King County Library System, Wash.
KCLS provided a place for youth to engage in conversations with one another, as well as community leaders, around social justice and equity.
In our community, there is no place for youth to get together to talk about race and equity in a structured and open environment. Bringing in speakers helps get the conversation going and provides an opportunity for youth to hear from members of the community who are not only directly addressing tough issues, but also providing an example of what we can do to make positive change in society.
The conversations provide a service/program that is not being offered to this segment of our community, demonstrating that the library is a place to help build and strengthen our communities through community involvement and creating opportunities. Staff attended these conversations and expressed their surprise at what they learned, as well as how engaged the youth are in addressing these important and mature topics.
We provided a place where youth were able to discuss relevant issues and provided an environment that allowed for the free expression of all ideas and opinions. As a result of this series, youth felt more connected to their peers in the community. Youth left with more knowledge about systems of oppression and how they are able to effect change within that system. Over the course of seven workshops, we served a total of 117 youth with the average age being 15. Each session ran for about an hour and a half.