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4 Data, Surveys, and Research
Pages 41-62

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From page 41...
... He highlighted "how the institutions that are central to [young people's] experience, in particular schools and work, so often fail them, even oppose them." He also mentioned the discussion on the impact of parenting and interpersonal relations within a community and their contributions to developing "really transformative movements led by young people on the most important issues that we face as a society." PANEL INTRODUCTION Baxter introduced Hanh Cao Yu, chief learning officer at the ­California Endowment.
From page 42...
... Research on youth organizing, she said, is "similar to experiential educa tion, public education, community organizing, youth-led research and evaluation" in that it focuses on "creating ladders of responsibility and supporting young people to draw from progressively higher levels of organizational and community leadership, and thus it lays the foundation for them to be indigenous leaders within their communities." Yu then offered several topics, such as the benefits from youth engagement and its impact on identity formation, critical consciousness, and creative approaches to community solutions, for the audience to reflect on during the panel discussion. She also spoke about how, at a basic level, this process develops individual-level skills and knowledge, including young people's research, analytical, and writing skills, which in turn equip them to be agents of change, and that at a higher level young people's involvement helps everyone understand challenges, priorities, and what strategies are needed to address youth and community needs (see Figure 4-1)
From page 43...
... Outcomes & Benefit To Youth Participants To Organizations To Communities Identity formation Enhance critical consciousness of Build an culture of belonging that Proactive & creative approach to social factors shaping their lives is respectful and celebratory of community building thru and how they can address them multiple & intersectional intergenerational partnerships & identifies youth leadership Skill & knowledge as Strong research, analytical, and Institutional capacity to support Understanding of local challenges agents of change writing skills applicable to youth-led evaluation and planning and assess strategies to address academic performance and within organizations youth and community needs advancement and community organizing Leadership development Civic leadership experience, A ladder of leadership Build social capital through a new communication, organizing, and development to draw a pool of generation advocacy capacities new and future staff and leaders FIGURE 4-1  Youth-led research, evaluation, and planning outcomes. SOURCE: Yu presentation, September 19, 2022; London et al.
From page 44...
... • Self-care practices (e.g., leadership development, building power, activities that bring joy to young people) guided by research in youth-led spaces contribute to positive outcomes and greater success for youth organizers.
From page 45...
... She also stated that the participating youths are monetarily compensated, the service has an 80 percent weekly response rate, and the goal of MyVoice is "to transform the way that research impacts policy by elevating youth voice in real time." Chang said that cell phones are valuable in this type of research because "it's real time, it's very inexpensive to use, and, most impor tantly, we're able to reach youth that we consider typically invisible to research and policy makers." She added that they wanted to provide a means for "all types of youth to participate," even those who would not join traditional avenues such as panels, focus groups, or youth advisory councils. Chang explained that the process to participate in MyVoice begins with identifying an issue (often via youth collaborators)
From page 46...
... Chang also invited any audience feedback for potential MyVoice survey topics. Chang then presented an image of a MyVoice text message exchange (Figure 4-2)
From page 47...
... . In addition, Chang said, MyVoice has formerly engaged with two National Academies studies on efforts to include youth collaborators in events.4 Padley introduced herself as a high school student from Cleveland, Ohio, who had begun her work with MyVoice the previous summer.
From page 48...
... Padley said that she is now working with the research team to develop a manuscript using the research on youth opinion on the current abortion landscape, adding that "it's been so cool to know that the research I'm helping to do is going to be published and make a real change." She listed some of the main takeaways from the project, includ ing information about "what resources young people need to feel like they can safely and easily access abortions" and "where young people are getting their information from about abortion access." Padley described how she benefited from working with MyVoice, including gaining experi ence in every step of the research process. In addition to that experience, she said that she appreciated "how empowering it feels to be able to do something that has meaning and weight, because a lot of time with the things that are happening in our country now, youth don't really have any say in what goes on, even though we are the people that it's going to affect in the future." She said that MyVoice works to give youth a voice both through sharing opinions via surveys and through the various youth collaborators working on the MyVoice research team.
From page 49...
... STUDENTSDESERVE -- A YOUTH-LED ORGANIZATION IN LOS ANGELES Yu then introduced the next speakers, Veronica Terriquez and Kahlila Williams. Terriquez introduced Williams as a youth activist who has grassroots youth-organizing experience through the group StudentsDeserve.5 She said that Williams led organizing efforts with StudentsDeserve to campaign to defund the system of school policing in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
From page 50...
... Due to the shift in political climate in 2020, she said, it became the appropriate time to begin the campaign to defund the Los Angeles Unified School Police Department. Williams explained that this began with StudentsDeserve conducting a survey of over 5,000 students enrolled at LAUSD schools to assess if students favored defunding the police and where students would want to apply the budget funds generated from defunding the police.
From page 51...
... We know that in order to really thrive, Black students and all students need care, not cops." She also added a quote from her own speech given to the school board: "I want police out of schools because no Black or Brown student should have to go to school and worry about being targeted or criminalized." Elaborating on her reasons for joining StudentsDeserve, Williams said that her initial inspiration was learning that school police were authorized to use pepper spray on students, which she found "outrageous." From there, she explained, she joined the discussion on the role and impact of school police and began to realize the effect that her experiences with school police had on her. For example, she referred to an experience she had while working in a school leadership position to organize the endof-year school picnic.
From page 52...
... She also mentioned that the funding that was removed from the LAUSD school police budget in 2020 was used to develop the Black Student Achievement Plan,10 which has received sub sequent funding from the school board of over $100 million and "targets schools with high numbers of predominantly Black students so that we can make sure that we're getting them resources such as counselors and nurses and psychiatric social workers." AN ACADEMIC PERSPECTIVE ON YOUTH ORGANIZING Terriquez thanked both Padley and Williams for their remarks about "the importance of gathering data from youth and having young people help define what those questions are, because they're living the everyday experiences." Terriquez also praised youth organizers' skills in "gathering data from their peers" and how they are "trustworthy messengers, especially when they're gathering data in their own communities." She emphasized the importance of researchers engaging young people and appropriately recognizing them as research partners through compensation and co-authorship. Terriquez described her experience as a youth organizer at Skyline High School in Oakland and also spoke about her academic career, where she has studied youth organizing for over a decade.
From page 53...
... She said that while they are not the only activities of youth-organizing groups, "the healing and self-care practices are central to broader leadership develop ment and also building power," and they also pave the way for what she described as political consciousness building or critical civics education. That can help young people understand how structures of economic and social inequality help explain the unfair conditions that they are experiencing." She said that these activities have ensured that instead of blaming themselves, their families, or their own communities for the challenges they face, young people "have structural analyses that look at the ways in which class, gender, and sexual orientation shape power inequalities" as well as systems analyses and "an understanding of how systems can be changed." She contended that beyond critiquing the system, youth o ­ rganizers must "learn how to effect change, how to analyze the policies, and how to make winnable demands," including such things as knowing when to go to the school district versus the city council.
From page 54...
... communities, worsening mental health outcomes, resulting in a mental health crisis, and that "people are in a lot of pain right now." She said that more data need to be produced to recognize what interventions are having positive effects so that they can be further scaled and also that more support needs to be provided to those interventions and that relevant stakeholders such as service providers and educators should be provided with what they need to "build up those systems and really imagine something different that could really truly address the needs of young people from the most marginalized communities." Yu thanked Terriquez for her contribution to the discussion and complimented the powerful and detailed research presentations of the youth speakers, Padley and Williams. She noted that the youth speakers "didn't shy away from the really difficult topics, from abortion to police defunding." QUESTIONS FOR YOUTH SPEAKERS Yu asked Padley and Williams to reflect on what difference it made that they, instead of their adult colleagues, selected the topics, performed the research, reached out to young people, conducted the sense making, and communicated to effect change.
From page 55...
... " since currently what she sees "is still one program, one initiative at a time." Yu then asked the entire panel, "What would be your recommendations to make sure that we build something that's sustainable and accessible to all young people and not just a small handful? " Chang said that when training the fellows and junior researchers at MyVoice, staff discuss "filling the pipeline in MyVoice." She said that MyVoice's usage of youth collaborators has the additional effect of showing "traditionally trained researchers that involving youth doesn't have to be a special thing or a difficult thing or extra work." She added that there are barriers in university research settings for involving youth, but that these barriers can be overcome so that researchers can benefit from youth collaboration and "actually understand what youth are going through" because otherwise they "could totally misinterpret what young people are saying." Chang underscored the importance of showing other researchers that it is possible to both improve the quality of the work and have more fun by engaging youth collaborators.
From page 56...
... programs in our safety nets that we have to reinvest in, again" and to create government-funded programs "that really train young people to conduct data collection, to organize, to be civically engaged, to have voices in their own communities." She concluded by emphasizing the importance of government accountability so that these programs and systems can be expanded to actually reach the majority of young people. Yu noted Terriquez's experience, which involved "the turnover of leadership in a lot of nonprofits so that some of the youth researchers have more tenure than the staff." Terriquez emphasized the importance of appropriately funding and staffing organizations among all sectors that serve young people -- not just nonprofits, but also schools and other government-based institutions -- so "that we have jobs for people where they can earn a living wage and raise a family," thus improving continuity among the adults supporting the youth.
From page 57...
... giving them an outlet to be able to say these are the things that are worrying me, and this is why it's worrying me" helps elucidate youth priorities and actions. Chang continued by saying that one of the challenges relating to climate change is that it is "one of those issues among young people that has no easy answer." She elaborated on common responses to climate change questions, which have included "I don't litter" and "I recycle," and she acknowledged that there is a gap between the youth responses and evidence-based climate change interventions "like consuming less and the different contributors to climate change." She concluded by saying that there are plenty of responses that regularly come from MyVoice surveys and the research team, but "there's a lot more questions that come up and issues and problems that we realize exist among young people." Yu thanked Chang for her response and acknowledged that climate change is "really top of mind for our young generation in terms of the planet we are inheriting to them, and it feels very real." The next two questions came from Phyllis Meadows, a senior fellow with the Kresge Foundation.
From page 58...
... Galvis opened by complimenting Padley and Williams on their work. He added to Williams's discussion about landscape, saying that youth leadership and building the power of youth is so important: "centering youth leadership is so important, because young people are unapologetic, unbroken, and uncompromising about what the North Star is." He added, "That's why [Williams and her peers were]
From page 59...
... Williams emphasized that "youth need to be at the center" and underscored that sentiment by saying, "They always say Gen Z is the genera­tion that's going to make the change because we're bolder and we're more confrontational and we don't really compromise." These qualities of the generation can be used to advance change, she said. In particular, ­Williams referred to her experiences with presenting to the LAUSD school board and how she and other alumni persistently show up for school board meetings to present their agenda "because that's what we're working towards." Referring to her concerns about external influences shifting the research and action agenda of an organization, Williams said that "it shows that we're still persistent, and it shows that we're still hard-work 12 See https://youthinfocus.org/ (accessed September 18, 2022)
From page 60...
... They received a survey response asking about "mail birth control." While Chang thought the response was focused on receiving birth control pills through the mail, the youth collaborators clarified that it was likely a misspelling, and the response was asking about birth control methods available for males. Chang emphasized that this situation was just one of many times where youth collaborators gave researchers at MyVoice better context and explanations for responses they had received from their surveys.
From page 61...
... DATA, SURVEYS, AND RESEARCH 61 participants in this workshop are needed "to make it standard, make it normal, and, dare I say it, make it cool, make it fun, for all people to have young people involved in all the things that we do." Yu reiterated the need to be "uncompromising in having that norm and expectation [of] having youth at the center." Terriquez said it is important to ensure "we're not just doing research for research's sake." She emphasized the importance of involving ­community-based organizations in study design so that researchers are asking questions that they may not think of when working in an academic bubble.


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