YOUTH OF COLOR
THE DESIGN CHALLENGE
Rather than being held up as assets and cultivated as leaders, youth of color in Miami are subjected to constant harassment, mistrust, discrimination and violence at the hands of authority figures and adults. High profile incidents, like the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Israel “Reefa" Hernandez, and every day encounters, like attending schools built like prisons, wear on the young souls in our community. These forces pervade every aspect of their lives, from their relationships with teachers to their feeling of safety walking around their neighborhoods.
Our schools are microcosms of our community and charged with building up our future leaders. Yet over the last two decades, schools in Miami-Dade and across the nation are increasingly using harsh, punitive policies and replacing meaningful instruction with a constant stream of high-stakes standardized tests. Minor misbehavior, like fooling around in class or getting in a scuffle on the playground, used to warrant a trip to the principal’s office, but is now met with an arrest warrant or out-of-school suspension. Warm greetings at the beginning of the day have been replaced with security guards, barbed wire and decaying buildings.
Keep this context in mind as you use the diverse range of talents, perspectives and discipline in your JusticeHack team to address this issue.
Schoolwide event one Friday each Month to create a space in which students and educators can come together and be empowered through innovative and creative curriculum with heart. Students and educators work together to develop curriculum, classes on topics that facilitators are passionate about but not in standard curriculum. Curriculum can eventually include field trips to enhance experience.
Flip the Structure
Provide conditions for young people to be able to push back, have more control over their education and have input into the system. Through collaboration and solidarity between high-school aged students students are empowered to engage with educators to have input into the education they receive.
Miami Youth Education Council
Creating a youth counterpart to the Miami-Dade School Board to allow for self-advocacy, equality, literacy gap, more funding, and get students more access to technology, reduce disparities between schooling across county.
One Lanyard for All
Communication campaign that encourages unity between students. Hinges on the mandated use of lanyards by all Miami-Dade students - oftentimes the different colored lanyards for different types of students ends up dividing the students and allowing for differential treatment based on the color lanyard a student wears. This campaign would call for unity among students and increase awareness about the school to prison pipeline among a larger population of Miamians.
Positive, not Punitive
Peer support and mentoring program in school with handbook and accompanying website. Good actions influence bad actions to make progress, which increases students’ intrinsic motivation to do better.