This past summer courageous heARTS got a great opportunity to apply for a grant pertaining to youth violence. Before applying for the grant we had to come up with a project that would help raise awareness for youth violence, and that is exactly what we did. We got the grant, and here’s what we came up with…
We decided to ask “How they fight, and why they fight for it?” They could answer: I fight for _____ and I do so violently or non violently. With that answer we would take a Polaroid picture of them holding up a peace sign for non violent fighting or a fist for violent fighting. We had them hold the peace sign or the fist over their faces so that it would be completely anonymous, it also made for a really cool looking picture! We then would write what they fought for down at the bottom of the Polaroid.
The teens that we asked were all from Minneapolis public high schools. We did pop ups at three schools, which were South High, El Colegio, and Roosevelt. Surprisingly many teens were willing to participate and liked the idea of what we were doing.
Our results after attending all three schools were also surprising, about 79% (139) of the students said that they fought peacefully! That was very reassuring that we were heading in the right direction of stopping youth violence. About 13% of students said that they were violent fighters, and then a small number said they were both, depending on what it was they were fighting for!
Our final project had to be presented to a community of the other participants who got the grant, and anyone else who wanted to come and watch. We presented at the Capri Theater. We put all our information together and created a really cool display that had four microphone stands with fish netting sort of hanging off of them. We then attached hooks to the pictures and hooked all of the non violent pictures to one side of the stand and the violent to the other. The people who said they fought both ways had their pictures hung from the top of the display. We also hung from the top wooden words that were our most popular thing said that were fought for such as equality, peace, social justice, rights, etc.... We kind of came up with the name last, and what we decided on was “Why FIght”. We had those big words in big metal letters right in the front of our display hanging.
The final outcome of the whole project was really fun and it was a cool experience to be able to connect with teens, and see how different, but also similar our lives are because we all fight for something, it just might not all be the same thing.
P.S. Check out our project page for pictures of our final display and more information about the project!
This blog is written by members of courageous heARTS' Youth Advisory Board, as well as occasional posts by our founder.