Vocal Justice has three core units, culminating in a final presentation students give on a social issue they care about
Who we are informs what we choose to speak up about. By engaging in deep reflection about the people and places that have shaped their identities, students develop a better understanding of how they, specifically, are well-equipped to talk about particular social justice issues. Additionally, as students share their stories, they develop community with each other; they become a group of peers who will support each other as they navigate and learn from the challenges that come with social justice advocacy.
1. Reflect on and share personal stories
To effectively speak out against injustice, we need to know what caused it. Rather than just learning how to name social issues, students learn why these problems persist. Understanding the root causes of social injustices enables youth to advocate for appropriate solutions. Students also explore the wide range of negative impacts that stem from structural oppression, including those that are not immediately apparent, so that they can advocate for changes that others may not recognize are needed.
2. Discuss the causes and consequences of structural oppression
Social change happens when we mobilize support for the causes we care about. Doing so requires the ability to change hearts and minds. It’s tempting to change parts of who we are to be persuasive, but we must always remain true to who we are — for ourselves and for the integrity of the movement. Our program provides a space for students to practice being authentic when they communicate, while also being persuasive to whatever group they hope to engage.
3. Practice talking about social justice in authentic and persuasive ways
Youth take ownership of their learning through activities that offer them choice and agency
Activities seek novel ways to hold students’ attention and promote meaningful discussion
Activities build on each other and help students see how they've grown over time
Content promotes the value of students’ racial/ethnic communities and builds their critical consciousness
Students learn to question public speaking norms, and generate strategies that honor their authentic voice
Lessons provide opportunities for students to build deep bonds with one another
Students understand how to use the skills they develop in the immediate future and throughout adulthood