Principal Investigators: Terri Sullivan, Ph.D. and Nicholas Thomson, Ph.D. 

Co-Investigators: Fantasy Lozada, Ph.D. and Emily Zimmerman

Funding: CDC Violence Prevention YVPC: U01CE003379

The goal of this project is to engage youth and adult stakeholders in collective decision-making and local civic activism to address factors that contribute to inequities in positive youth development opportunities in their communities. Youth in grades 9 to 12 (ages 14 to 18) will be recruited from their local high school in a youth participatory action research curriculum which is guided by the following frameworks/research: socio-political theory development (Watts et al., 2002), racial socialization, and racial identity development. The curriculum will facilitate critical consciousness among African American adolescents in the identified communities from a holistic PYD development approach. Relying on the above frameworks for understanding and promoting positive youth development among African American youth, the Youth Voices curriculum will engage adolescents around activities that scaffold their thinking about structural racism, identifying the messages that they receive about race in their homes, schools, and communities, and helping them reflect on the meaning and salience of race to their identities. Youth Voices incorporates a novel socioemotional learning approach that helps youth rely on their socioemotional competencies to identify and cope with emotions that emerge in the awareness and experience of racism. The curriculum reflects and leverages the lived experiences and sociocultural context of African Americans in the United States. This curriculum uses a holistic approach for youth engagement that recognizes the need to have culturally grounded conversations about inequality while also supporting youth in making sense of their personal and vicarious experiences and reflections of that inequality.