EYEJ wants to take the time to explain some of its thought process behind the development of Cleveland’s first-ever social justice forum. Here are three key ideas behind it. 1. […]
EYEJ wants to take the time to explain some of its thought process behind the development of Cleveland’s first-ever social justice forum. Here are three key ideas behind it.
1. Create a safe and informative space for youth.
Students in the CMSD school district do not always have the opportunity to discuss complex or challenging topics such as future plans, financial literacy, racism, police/civilian relations. The social justice forum will allow young people to actively participate in discussions.
Additionally, youth can gain self-confidence through self-expression and community building. Recognizing your voice has value can also enhance leadership skills and help you find success and contentment in school, work, and even day-to-day relationships with friends and family.
One of EYEJ’s recent discussion series took place at Hathaway Brown’s Aspire program, and highlighted the importance of respect and listening. Youth do not always understand how to respectfully express and accept differences they may have with other people or other viewpoints.
The social justice forum will help them develop the kind of inter-personal skills that will increase the respect they hold for others. Additionally, showing respect is a sign of emotional maturity, a key trait for long-term life success.
3. Give youth a chance to develop their own identity and grow.
A recent post on the EYEJ blog talked about how facing challenges leads to innovation and development. The conversations held on the social justice forum promote youth development because they offer new perspectives and worldview for users. Users get the opportunity to grow their own identities by examining and questioning the world around them.
This kind of activity can be challenging. Being open to change is not easy–you can’t flip a switch and say, “Alright, I’m ready for the change!” Studies find that, yes, coping with change can be difficult. However, they also show that learning to accept it in even small doses can lead to increased contentment with life and increased self-awareness.