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What Can Teens Do to Speak Out Against Injustice?

by Penelope Longfellow, studioD

With critical eyes and voices, teenagers can question why long-established systems must operate a certain way. Social injustice, then, has the potential to be the perfect target for teens, the ideal forum for asking, "Why?" and arguing for change. And, having just turned the corner from childhood, notes Teaching Tolerance, teenagers still possess a sense of optimism that, coupled with their particular brand of contentious fire, can be an effective force in fighting injustices. With technology, talent and thoughtful strategy, teens can speak out against injustice in several ways.

Launch an Online Campaign

Your teen can tap into the power of the Internet and fight injustice with an online campaign. Use a search engine or word-of-mouth recommendation to find a reputable online platform specializing in social justice petitions. Choose a single cause, according to the website for Advocates for Youth, with a specific goal in order to create an effective campaign. Research the issue thoroughly and determine the recipient or group of recipients for your petition. To accompany your petition, write a compelling, fact-based letter that states your goal. After launching the campaign, announce it to family, friends and other supporters of the cause, providing information on how to sign and share the petition.

Partner Up

Teens can research various social injustice issues and choose the cause that sparks the most passion. Find a larger organization, either locally or online, that supports the particular cause, and reach out to get involved. In partnering with an already established nonprofit, teens can benefit from the organization's collective knowledge, experience and success in fighting an injustice. Participate in the group's fundraisers and other programs geared specifically toward teens as a way to speak out in effective and meaningful way.

Paint the Town

Speak out against injustice through writing, painting and other art forms. As an individual or collective group, choose a specific social cause to support. Come up with ways to artistically respond to the injustice, such as poetry, essays, music, a community mural or individual art pieces. When complete, host an event to showcase the art and educate a chosen audience about the injustice. To accompany the individual or group's abstract artistic expressions, provide exhibition attendees with brochures or other concrete information on the cause and how to support it.

Spread the Word

Learn as much as possible about a specific social justice cause and teach others about it. Fill family, friends, fellow students, teachers and coworkers with knowledge about a particular injustice and infect them with passion toward the cause. Form a club in support of a social justice issue and make it the group's mission to educate the community. Distribute printed information at formal meetings or informally, such as on signposts and community boards. Raise awareness and interest to light a spark in others about the injustice, knowing that enough sparks can start a fire.

About the Author

Penelope Longfellow has been writing professionally since 2001. She holds a graduate certificate in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Longfellow's work has appeared at Change.org and in "Cape Fear Parent" magazine.

Photo Credits

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