Children, Youth and Environments
Vol. 20 No. 2 (Fall 2010)
Im about to really bring it!
Access Points between Youth Activists and Adult Community Leaders
School of Education
University of Colorado at Boulder
Citation: Kirshner, Ben and Kimberly Geil (2010). "Im about to really bring it! Access Points between Youth Activists and Adult Community Leaders ." Children, Youth and Environments 20 (2): 1-24. Retrieved [date] from http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/
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Working-class and low-income youth of color rarely have opportunities to participate in policy-making settings, such as school boards, city councils, or newsrooms. Those encounters between youth activists and adult community leaders that do occur represent access points for youth, in which young people advocate for their collective interests. In this article we analyze access points as learning environments for youth. First, employing cultural-historical activity theory, we identify participant's goals, the tools and artifacts they appropriate in the service of those goals, and the behavioral norms and divisions of labor common to access points. Second, we argue that access points provide opportunities for youth to learn skills for persuasive speech and deliberation, which are critical for robust civic engagement. We conclude by offering recommendations for how to support novice
youths' participation in policymaking domains.
Keywords: access points, urban youth, youth activism, civic participation, learning environments