Engaging Youth Voices

Youth talked. WAVAW listened.

Raise It Up was created with youth in mind We took direction from youth to construct a curriculum that engages with issues that impact their lives every day. The curriculum is specially designed around youth feedback on what they want to learn about violence and oppression.

This i what our Youth Advisory Committee had to say:

The things I would want my peers to know about violence/oppression are…

  • How violence is started/provoked
  • Where violence originates from
  • What it feels like to be a victim (what being a victim/perpetrator looks like, breaking down stereotypes) where we find violence
  • That it is much more widespread than we think (statistics)
  • Jokes/ what you say can be interpreted differently depending on individuals’ backgrounds
  • How to identify violence (signs)
  • Identifying violence in media/tv
  • What violence and oppression is and how it affects everyone regardless of gender, race, class, orientation etc.
  • Varying levels of violence, verbal, sexual, physical, unconscious sometimes
  • Racism, prejudice, sexism, oppression- definitions, identification and acknowledging that they affect everyone

The best way to discuss these issues is…

  • To have students look reflexively into their own lives and notice how violence and oppression operate, think about times they have been oppressed and times they have oppressed others.
  • To have past victims share stories, personal anecdotes
  • Relate them to current events, identify in media, news etc.
  • Statistics, shocking stories
  • Reading ‘The Five Faces of Oppression’ by Iris Marion Young, to understand background and varieties of violence
  • To address factors and consequences of oppression
  • Through YouTube clips and incorporation of different media
  • With multiple forms of lessons, small groups, readings, movies, face-to-face etc., to ensure everyone understands

I want to learn more about…

  • Other people’s experiences, points of view
  • Why people resort to violence and discrimination
  • Where prejudices come from
  • Organizations and resources on oppression and violence
  • Ways to get kids thinking about the world around them and how their thoughts and actions impact the world around them
  • How oppression affects everyone
  • The ways to recognize violence (signs)
  • How to go about changing people’s oppressive tendencies and open their eyes to it (solutions)
  • How to talk about these issues with others
  • The biology/psychology behind it all, are there biological factors in gender stereotypes?
  • How to take control
  • How the justice system addresses violence
  • How cultural beliefs shape ideas of what is right and wrong and how to address this.