The Campus Action Network (C.A.N.), in collaboration with the ROADS Summer Program, hosted 10 high school students from ROADS Charter School (Bronx) for a month long Summer Externship Program.
The program was centered on working with the students to connect the police misconduct that they encounter (personally and frequently) in their own communities, to larger patterns of racial profiling, police brutality and systemic racism.
Throughout the summer the ROADS students were introduced to various groups of people and communities – outside of their own – who also experience harassment and discrimination at the hands of the NYPD. Learning from people within these different communities, helped the kids think about police abuse as part of a larger, systemic pattern. The students were tasked with researching policing issues that are unique to certain communities in NYC. Their research topics included…
- marijuana arrests in Black & Latino communities
- police violence in the LGBTQ community
- surveillance of the Arab American community
- police treatment of homeless people
The kids split into 2 groups of 5: the Know Your Rights Group and the Narratives Group. Each groups worked to produce a public education tool and/or strategy that related to their specific research topics.
This group worked to produce a narrative representation of their experience with the NYPD.
Take a look at the Narratives Group’s final product, a collection of short narratives: Voices of the Voiceless: Youth Seek Freedom from Police Brutality
The students in this group used an online program to create a collection of comic strips addressing police misconduct and discrimination.
Take a look at the Know Your Rights Group’s final product, a comic book: NYC Residents + Diversity: Know Your Rights
C.A.N.’s Summer Externship Program created a space where the students could discuss what it means to be a young human rights/social justice activist and brainstorm different strategies for including and organizing, their peers, in their activism.
Some of the questions we aimed to answer over the summer included:
‘how do my personal experiences reflect larger issues in our society?’; ‘how can we organize together with other young people?’; ‘how do we educate and alert the public about issues that impact us?’; and ‘how can we educate people about their constitutional rights and empower them to stand up for those rights?’
We look forward to continuing and including more young people in these discussions!
About ROADS Charter School In 2010, ROADS was just an idea. New York City needed new ways to provide an excellent education for students who had fallen out of the mainstream educational system. These students, many who were court involved, in foster care or homeless deserved a school that was built to specifically serve their needs. That idea has now grown into a reality with two new charter high schools, ROADS Charter School 1 in East New York, Brooklyn, and ROADS Charter School 2 in the South Bronx. On Monday, August 27th, 2010 ROADS Charter School 1 and ROADS Charter School 2 opened their doors to 150 youth in each school. Since then, our team of over 70 network and school-based staff has worked to turn the ROADS vision into a reality. After two successful lotteries in May of 2013 ROADS Schools welcomed an additional cohort of students to our family this year.