YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

Blog
  • Youth Radio Raw: Revolution Radio Episode 1

    by Youth Radio Raw



    Welcome to the 1st episode of Revolution Radio on Youth Radio Raw.
    Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35pm!
    On this show, you’ll hear recent news, personal experiences, and a diverse selection of music.
    For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.
    Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

  • The Remarkable von Humboldt Brothers

    by Howard Gardner


    Throughout much of the 19th century, the von Humboldt brothers were among the most famous persons in the world—celebrities before that term was bandied about. Alexander (1769-1859) was known for his pioneering five-year trip as a naturalist to Latin America and for his synthesizing writings, chief among them his multi-volume Cosmos. His older brother Wilhelm (1767-1835) was renowned for devising the university system in Prussia, organizing the pre-university educational system throughout German-speaking territory, and carrying out highly original studies in linguistics.
    Today, the two have been justifiably celebrated through the naming (in their joint honor) of the Humboldt University in Berlin; and yet except among specialists, the substance of their work is little known except perhaps in Germany. In this blog, I summarize and salute their quality work. In a companion blog, I explore why brothers—a mere two years apart in age—could each make important contributions to scholarship and yet do so in highly distinctive ways.
    First Wilhelm, the older brother. Always more studious than Alexander, Wilhelm made connections early on with leading Germanic thinkers, chief among them Goethe and Schiller. He mastered their works, along with those of the most important scholar of the era, Immanuel Kant. While a leading thinker and copious writer (though one who did not publish much during his lifetime), Wilhelm’s “career path” did not coalesce until he was asked by the Prussian government in effect to organize the educational system.
    In a remarkably brief period of time, Wilhelm laid out a bold and highly original vision: universities should combine teaching and research; students should read and think widely, across the disciplinary terrain; and there should be few formal barriers to organizing one’s own studies (in this, the Prussian system differed from the more structured Napoleonic system). Moreover, there should be a systematic sequence, beginning with elementary schools, which, in their emphasis on play and discovery, were very progressive; these fed into more selective secondary schools (Gymnasiums) with libraries and scientific laboratories; and then ultimately, for the select few, the privilege of higher education in the company of superb scholars. Today, as the terrain of higher education is widely contested across the world, it is noteworthy that the preeminent German philosopher Jurgen Habermas draws explicitly on the Humboldtian conception of the university.
    Wilhelm was always fascinated by languages. At a young age he learned Latin, Greek, and the major European languages; and later he dabbled in Sanskrit, Basque, and Kawi (the language of Java) and wrote about the Bhagavad Gita. Clearly he was one of the leading masters of language in his era. Of more importance for our time, Wilhelm also thought deeply about the nature of language: its components, its structure, its role in thought, and its salient defining role in human nature. No less a contemporary authority than Noam Chomsky pays tribute to Wilhelm’s pioneering thinking about language, delineating ways in which his own path-breaking work has taken as a point of departure the Humboldtian enterprise.
    Alexander received the same education as Wilhelm—personal tutoring in the major disciplines and topics of the time and similar university experiences. And though not as overtly precocious as Wilhelm, Alexander was certainly a gifted student. But while Wilhelm saw himself as a European, and devoted many years to choreographing Prussian education, Alexander was a prototypical adventurer. He was eager to leave Europe and in fact embarked on a five year expedition to the Americas, chiefly Latin America. (He stopped off in Washington, D.C., to pay a visit to President Thomas Jefferson, Vice President James Madison, and Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin.) In the course of his adventurous expedition, Alexander assembled a huge collection of the flora and fauna of that part of the world; as just one example, he brought back 60,000 plant specimens, representing 6,000 species, of which 2,000 were new to European scholars.
    After his American journey was completed, Alexander devoted many years (and all of his inherited fortune) to the publication of his findings. These encyclopedic naturalist works had enormous influence on Charles Darwin, who followed much the same travelling path as Alexander a few decades later; and von Humboldt’s influence extended to the United States, through writers like Thoreau and Whitman.
    Not only did Alexander crave worldwide travel adventures (he wanted desperately to travel to China and India but never made it); he did not much like the German speaking societies and instead lived for years in Paris. (He met Napoleon, but, perhaps not wanting to be upstaged by this celebrity of natural science, Napoleon brushed him off.) Only after brother Wilhelm had finished his work in education did Alexander return to Berlin, where he survived his brother by more than two decades. Alexander became a masterful lecturer, entertaining and edifying huge audiences with his ideas and his travel adventures. And then as his magnum opus, he wrote the five volume Cosmos, an unprecedented synthesis of knowledge from the range of scientific disciplines as well as an effort to portray how these parts fit into an overarching tapestry. No wonder that master writer-lecturer Carl Sagan chose the same single word title as Alexander—in effect he was producing the second Cosmos.
    Perusing the German and English literature on the brothers von Humboldt, I found much on their lives together—their rather unhappy childhoods, their living together and apart, their extensive correspondence over four decades, their different interests and temperaments, and—in the more recent writings, though not in those from the 19th century—speculations that Alexander was gay and that Wilhelm was preoccupied with what Goethe called “Das Ewig Weibliche—the eternal feminine.”
    But I have found little about the resemblances and differences between their intellectual endas and almost nothing about how these relationships might reflect that the fact that they were siblings—older and younger brothers. A full study would require considerable time and considerable expertise—neither of which I have available! But in my next blog, I will offer some speculations.

  • Phones In Control? Here’s How Young People Can Take Charge

    by Noah Nelson



    Let’s be honest: a lot of us spend all day on our phones, hooked on our favorite apps. We keep typing and swiping, even when we know the risks phones can pose to our attention, privacy, and even our safety.  And those risks can be even bigger for teens. But the computers in our pockets also create untapped opportunities for young people to learn, connect and transform their communities by making their own mobile apps and learning what goes into blockbuster platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and more.
    Youth Radio Interactive — the tech education and coding arm of Youth Radio — is where young people are jumping on those opportunities. Our Interactive program combines computer programming and journalism to develop new tools, and tell dynamic stories about issues facing their communities. And our Interactive crew is especially proud to work side by side with our partners at MIT App Inventor to flip the script on how the public understands young people and their phones. Youth Radio Interactive teens are reporting for national outlets on how young people use their phones in surprising and powerful ways. Meanwhile, the team at MIT are continually enhancing their tool, App Inventor, to make it possible even for novice computer programmers to create apps like the ones featured in Youth Radio’s reporting.
    And today, we’re going open source: we’re announcing a series of App Building Guides, co-created by Youth Radio Interactive and MIT App Inventor, that enable millions of young app makers to create their own apps they can publish in the Google Play Store.
    Our first App Building Guide is inspired by Youth Radio’s story about Snapchat. Teens understand Snapchat intuitively, while older people can — let’s be honest — be a little clueless about how it works. That’s why when Snap Inc. went public last spring, NPR turned to Youth Radio to help listeners bridge the generation gap and grasp the huge appeal of the app.
    Now, our first App Builder Guide invites the over six million registered users of App Inventor to go under the hood and create their own customized “bootleg” versions of Snapchat with brand new functionality you won’t see in the public version.
    Youth Radio’s collaboration with MIT is supported in part by the National Science Foundation, and these guides are our latest effort in seven years of teaching code. Youth Radio has long been at the forefront of the movement to get young people — particularly those less represented in the industry — on-ramped to careers in tech through training and workforce development. Youth Radio Interactive and our guides take this work to the next level by preparing young people in-house and worldwide to create apps and learn to code. Using App Inventor, the Youth Radio Interactive team has released several apps: Mood Ring, Run 4 Prez and Bucket Hustle. Now, we hope to get even more young people excited about mobile app design and development.
    To see more apps created by Youth Radio Interactive, visit the Youth Radio Interactive portfolio.

  • I was rejected from every college I applied to…but I’m OK

    by Maya Cueva



    It’s the start of a new school year. I’m seeing my friends off to college. I thought I’d be going with them, but it didn’t work out that way.
    I was rejected from all the universities I applied to. Just six very elite colleges and zero safety schools. When it became clear I wouldn’t be attending a four year college in the fall, I felt like I’d failed.
    I kept thinking back on my dad’s graveyard shifts, my encouraging teachers, and the many hours I studied. It all felt wasted.
    All throughout high school, I was told college was my next and only step. Being rejected opened my eyes to how many options there actually are.
    I could go to Paris and study at Bows Arts. I could skip post-secondary education all together. The possibilities are overwhelming, but also exciting.
    Part of me is bitter about missing out on the traditional freshman experience, but I’m also glad to sort out some of the confusion of transitioning to adulthood without the burden of a pricey tuition.
     

  • What Undocumented Berkeley Students Want From Congress

    by Maya Cueva


    Earlier this week, President Donald Trump released an immigration policy wish list to Congress that’s gotten a lot of people revved up about immigration all over again. Youth Radio asked some of the members of UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program what they want from Congress.
     
    Courtesy of Juan Prieto
     
    Daniela Amador, 19:
    I say to Congress, we are no longer your bargaining chips. We won’t continue allowing you to capitalize on our fear. This movement goes beyond what you are willing to do for our community. It goes beyond legalities. This movement is for immigrant liberation and we will no longer wait for you to realize our humanity is valid. We’re done sleeping, we’re done dreaming, we’re awake and ready to fight for all 11 million.
     
     
    Courtesy of Nadia Kim
     
    Nadia Kim, 22:
    I’m done complacently waiting for change. I’m done living under the pretense that Democrats will act justly on behalf of the integrity and liberation of my loved ones and myself. I’m done entrusting a capitalist government that solely values my community’s labor and productivity while it simultaneously exploits, detains, criminalizes, and dehumanizes the millions that don’t fit the Dreamer caricature.
     
     
    Courtesy of Juan Prieto
     
    Paola Mora, 21:
    DACA was a temporary solution to a much larger structural problem in our immigration system, and it made a large portion of us undocumented youth complacent to the deportation of the rest of our community.
    Often, Dreamers are deemed the “good immigrants” and in that connotation, anyone else [is one of] the “bad ones”– the “criminals.” Through that lens, my parents are categorized in the latter, but when I look at them I only see my heroes. Who would deliberately leave all their lives, their parents, their siblings and all they ever knew behind with no security at the other end? My parents. Who went 15+ years without being able to hug their mother or father? My parents. Who had to hear the news that their mother and father passed away without being able to hug them one last time? My parents.
     
     
    Courtesy of Maria Atanacio
     
    Valeria Suarez, 21:
    Asking for our parents and our community members to not be deported while we are fighting for the DREAM Act is not asking for the world, it is asking for the bare minimum. If we are to fight, we must fight for all 11 million undocumented lives and fighting for a clean DREAM Act is only the start.
     
     

  • Why We Need Gun Control: How I Almost Lost My Dad To Gun Violence

    by Maya Cueva


    On October 1st, Stephen Paddock, 64, allegedly began firing into a crowd of about 22,000 people during a concert at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The shooting left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured, making it the deadliest shooting in modern American history.
    News of the Las Vegas shooting was heartbreaking, but sadly, it wasn’t shocking. Teens like me have become accustomed to acts of violence like this in America. Depending on how you count, there have been more than 200 mass shootings so far in 2017 alone. My peers and I have grown up constantly hearing about the threat of gun violence. Several of my peers consume news about shootings with a nonchalance that is almost frightening. But it’s not something that I can merely brush away.
    News of shootings like the one in Las Vegas stick with me because I actually know what it feels like to be inside of a family that has experienced a loved one being shot. 
    When I was in the 4th grade, my father was leaving a concert when an unidentified man pulled up beside him and began firing. My dad suffered multiple injuries to his body and a severe head injury. No one thought he would survive.
    I can still remember the fear and worry that clawed at me when I heard the news. I was only 10 years old at the time, and home alone with my younger brother. We were laughing and watching TV when I received the call from my dad’s girlfriend. I had to break the news to my mom, praying that I could remain calm enough to report the news without breaking down and scaring my brother.
    My dad survived being shot, but he became legally blind.  His shooting changed my perspective on many things, especially gun violence.
    In the wake of shootings like the one in Las Vegas, I sympathize with what the families’ of the victims are experiencing, because I still remember my own raw confusion and anger. It’s incomprehensible why someone would try to take away another person’s life, or to rob another person of her father. I don’t think the person holding the gun can truly understand that they’re taking away someone who is loved.
    It makes me crave justice–and not the kind that comes in the form of chaos and more violence. I want a kind of justice that doesn’t just end with the death of Stephen Paddock.
    The only thing that will truly deliver justice to the victims of gun violence is gun control.  I feel that our country’s lax gun laws have given gun owners the power to make life or death choices for others. I’m frustrated by the thought that so many lives could have been saved, and yet the government refuses to act on it. This inaction is disgusting to the families of the victims of gun violence. How many more deaths will it take for our government to hear our cries for help?
    In my eyes, my father is a constant reminder of gun violence. I feel the effects of his shooting every day. The fact that he will never get to see me walk across the stage and receive my diploma still breaks my heart. And in the wake of shootings like the one in Las Vegas, it also makes me  determined to do more than send thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. Because I know from personal experience, if we don’t act on gun control now, more lives could be destroyed. 
     
     

  • I Was Adopted Into A White Family

    by Maya Cueva



    As a kid, I didn’t care that my adopted mom was a different race than me. But as I got older, race became more important.
    It was during an event at the Oakland Zoo that I met my future mom for the first time.   This tall Caucasian woman walked up to me and offered me a slice of pizza. After several months of getting to know each other, she eventually adopted me. 
    It wasn’t important to me that I was a Black kid with a White mom until people started staring at us every time we went out.
    A kid asked me one, “Is that your mom?”
    It was awkward. I said, “No, that’s my babysitter.”
    A lot changed when I went to school with other Black kids. I started dating someone who related to everything I’ve gone through. I felt like I could finally open up to someone.
    Overtime, I’ve learned to love my skin color. I’m proud that I was born African-American. I can now start to explain to my family–though they may never understand, Black lives matter, the way I do.

  • Dynamic Leader Jabari Gray Is Youth Radio’s New Executive Director

    by Noah Nelson


    We’re thrilled to announce that Jabari Gray is stepping into a new leadership role as Executive Director of Youth Radio, at a time when young people are increasingly driving conversations about what it means to build a more equitable and just society. He will join Ellin O’Leary, Youth Radio’s President and Chief Content Officer in leading Youth Radio’s growth as we embark on an exciting new four-year strategic plan, with the goal of propelling the organization as a national media leader.
    Gray has been key to building the foundation of the organization during the past decade that Youth Radio has been based in Oakland. A knack for developing leaders, along with creative problem-solving, launched Gray from his first role in Youth Radio’s development department to Deputy Director in 2014. Gray’s leadership is widely recognized as pivotal to Youth Radio’s dramatic expansion, rooted in the mission to revolutionize how youth tell stories and the ways people connect with next-generation journalists and artists.
    “Gray has a unique style, holding the bar high while supporting staff and students in the creation of high-impact responses to the young people’s needs and talents. This entrepreneurial skill is central to what makes him a great Executive Director,” says Ellin O’Leary, President and Chief Content Officer.
    Youth Radio Executive Director Jabari Gray
    “Youth Radio sets the gold standard in youth-driven media, and it is my full intention to protect and grow its legacy in my new role,” says Gray. “This is a company that actually delivers on its promise to bring honest, diverse, and compelling content to American audiences. For the last 25 years, Youth Radio has assembled teams and partnerships that provide the best out-of-school digital communication education around, consistently producing award-winning journalism.”
    Beyond its critical role of providing education, technical training, and professional development for emerging media talent, Gray says the organization serves a larger purpose, creating a crucial platform for young people at this defining moment in our nation’s history.
    “Young people’s voices are beacons,” he says. “And we need that beacon more today than at any point in my lifetime. They’re leading the fight against white supremacy, standing up for DACA and immigrant rights, embracing gender equality and fluidity, and more. Youth Radio is stirring artistic expression that moves the needle in public discourse. And you will see us going to the next level, becoming the nerve center of a nationwide network.” Gray explains that involves further expanding Youth Radio’s distribution through media partnerships with The New York Times, Teen Vogue, NPR, and others, as well as developing Youth Radio’s own platforms as a destination for youth-driven stories that can’t be found anywhere else.
     In addition to helping Youth Radio scale its impact as an organization, Gray has encouraged countless individuals to develop their own voices during his time at the organization. Sheila Blandon was one of the many talented young leaders Gray recognized and helped to succeed. She was a participant in the Pathways program — a nine-month digital communications workforce training program that Gray helped create.
     After becoming involved with Youth Radio, Blandon dove into local community organizing, managing a candidate’s winning school board campaign, and helped others launch new nonprofits and businesses. Blandon credits these wins to Youth Radio, and especially to the trust Gray showed her. “I’ve been able to soar because of the things he taught me and the support he provided,” she said.
     And Blandon isn’t alone. She says her experience is emblematic of what so many young people involved with Youth Radio take away from their time here.
     “This organization opens up so many different doors for young people and provides skills that I don’t think others are providing for youth right now. Youth Radio is filling that void. It becomes not just a place to learn, but a second home — I know it was for me,” she said.
     We hope you will join everyone at Youth Radio and all the communities we serve in welcoming Jabari Gray to his new role, and ushering in a new and exciting era for next-generation storytelling and youth-driven media.

  • 7 Reactions To The Las Vegas Shooting Besides “Thoughts And Prayers”

    by Teresa Chin



    On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 people. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. As details of the tragedy emerged, the nation’s top politicians reacted by sending variations on “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and the Las Vegas community.

    My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017

    But for many young people, who have grown up against the backdrop of mass shootings, thoughts and prayers may not seem like enough. So what other options are there for people who want to DO SOMETHING?
    We’ve compiled a short list of ways you can take action, no matter where you are in the country.
    1. Educate Yourself.
    Knowledge is power, y’all. See how U.S. gun laws have changed over time, and learn about your state’s gun laws compare. From Everytown.org.
    2. Call Your Representatives.
    Note that we said call, not email or write. If you have opinions on gun restrictions or other policy changes that you feel would make the community safer, actually getting on the phone with your representative’s office and letting them know how you feel is the one of the best ways to get your voice heard. Lower the intimdation factor by getting friends together to hit those phone lines. Look up your representatives and get help on your call scripts here.
    3. Give Blood.
    If you’re able to, giving blood is a great way to help. Bonus that it’s something you can do matter where you are located. Keep in mind though, blood isn’t just needed in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Consider donating even in the coming weeks and months when those donation lines thin out.
    4. Listen.
    There are lots of people out there who have been touched by this tragedy. Take the time to listen to friends and family who have been touched by gun violence and/or are having a hard time with the unfolding crisis.
    5. Donate To Victims.
    Whether it’s contributing money to the families shooting victims, the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, or other worth causes, contributing money is one way to help those who have been affected by tragedy. The Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak has set up a fund to #help victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The Hispanic Federation has a disaster relief fund for Puerto Rico and Mexico. Do your research to make sure the fund and organization is legit.
    6. Organize
    There are many groups you can join that organize around issues like gun violence. Ask about local chapters or consider starting your own!
    7. Self Care.
    Sometimes, thinking about all the problems in the world can feel exhausting or overwhelming. Note your feelings and take care of yourself and others so you have the energy to continue making change. You may want to consider talking to a mental health professional. Check out Teen Vogue’s self-care guide for those who have witnessed violence.

     

  • 7 Reactions To The Las Vegas Shooting Besides “Thoughts And Prayers”

    by Teresa Chin


    On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 people. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  As details of the tragedy emerged, the nation’s top politicians reacted by sending variations on “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and the Las Vegas community.

    My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017

    But for many young people, who have grown up against the backdrop of mass shootings, thoughts and prayers may not seem like enough. So what other options are there for people who want to DO SOMETHING?
    We’ve compiled a short list of ways you can take action, no matter where you are in the country.
    1. Educate Yourself.
    Knowledge is power, y’all. See how U.S. gun laws have changed over time, and learn about your state’s gun laws compare. From Everytown.org.
    2. Call Your Representatives.
    Note that we said call, not email or write. If you have opinions on gun restrictions or other policy changes that you feel would make the community safer, actually getting on the phone with your representative’s office and letting them know how you feel is the one of the best ways to get your voice heard. Lower the intimdation factor by getting friends together to hit those phone lines. Look up your representatives and get help on your call scripts here.
    3. Give Blood.
    If you’re able to, giving blood is a great way to help. Bonus that it’s something you can do matter where you are located. Keep in mind though, blood isn’t just needed in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Consider donating even in the coming weeks and months when those donation lines thin out.
    4. Listen.
    There are lots of people out there who have been touched by this tragedy. Take the time to listen to friends and family who have been touched by gun violence and/or are having a hard time with the unfolding crisis.
    5. Donate To Victims.
    Whether it’s contributing money to the families shooting victims, the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, or other worth causes, contributing money is one way to help those who have been affected by tragedy. The Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak has set up a fund to #help victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The Hispanic Federation has a disaster relief fund for Puerto Rico and Mexico. Do your research to make sure the fund and organization is legit.
    6. Organize
    There are many groups you can join that organize around issues like gun violence. Ask about local chapters or consider starting your own!
    7. Self Care.
    Sometimes, thinking about all the problems in the world can feel exhausting or overwhelming. Note your feelings and take care of yourself and others so you have the energy to continue making change. You may want to consider talking to a mental health professional. Check out Teen Vogue’s self-care guide for those who have witnessed violence.

     

Pages