The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice center has honored Peers Building Justice (PBJ) for the Youth Peacemaker Award of the Year! Our youth have worked extremely hard in presenting social justice topics (prison industrial complex, rape culture, racism in our community, bullying, dress code, media literacy, and much much more) to the community through our annual Martin Luther King Jr. showcase and our May showcase. PBJ has been recognized because our youth are the leaders in identifying issues in the community and are the leaders in how to solve or engage in conversations so we can live in a just world for everyone. We are excited to continue our work and thankful that we have been recognized by community members.
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This June, eight high school youth joined PBJ for a concentrated Participatory Action Research (PAR) project. The youth spent a total of 10 hours together investigating the question, “How do I engage?” The youth wanted to get a better idea of what motivates them and other youth to engage in their communities and social justice activism.
They began the process by making “mind maps” to illustrate their thoughts on the question. After much discussion, the youth then came up with several sub questions to inform their overall research question. The youth interviewed each other using these questions and took notes. We collected all of the answers on large butcher paper hung around the room. With the data collected, the youth were then tasked with finding common themes and important outliers in the answers given. The students identified these themes using sticky notes and grouped some of them together to illustrate their findings.
After examining the outcomes, the youth then partnered up to create posters with messages they would like to share with their peers – keeping in mind that high school students only have so much time to engage. Yet, they are living proof that in only a few hours, a lot can be accomplished. PBJ hopes these students will continue to be leaders and show their peers how they, too, have something important to say.