In this reflective essay, Alan McCullough Jr., Felton Morrell Jr., Bernard Thomas III, Vincente Waugh, and Nicholas Shubert with their teacher, Amy Donofrio, share the youth self-authorship methods that empowered them to transform their labels from “at-risk youth” to “at-hope youth leaders” in Jacksonville, Florida. After realizing that they had similar experiences with Jacksonville’s extreme violence and crime, they partnered to form the EVAC movement. The power of their shared stories led them from inviting officials to their classroom to hear their stories and collaborate for change to eventually speaking at the White House, meeting President Obama, making the front page of the New York Times, and presenting at Harvard University. In this reflection, the authors share how utilizing the power of youth storytelling in the context of a public school classroom can support youth to heal and lead community change, as well as the ways in which youth stories are dangerous—particularly to the systems of racism and oppression that their stories challenge.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.