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Becoming Activist

Critical Literacy and Youth Organizing

Series:

Elizabeth Bishop

Becoming Activist is a revolutionary study of youth human rights activism and literacy learning. The book follows five urban youth organizers from the Drop Knowledge Project in New York City. Intentionally polyvocal, the voices of the five youth are featured prominently to highlight the shifting articulation of their activist identities in relation to social and economic justice. Becoming Activist explores critical literacy pedagogy beyond the confines of formal education. While it has been historically theorized within English classrooms, much existing research points to the limitations of conducting critical literacy in schools. In search of a space where critical literacy can be more fully realized, this book positions urban youth organizing as an alternative context for powerful community-based learning. A valuable read for educators, researchers, and young organizers, Becoming Activist offers insight into conducting literacy work to promote positive youth and community development. Ultimately, the idea of «becoming» is key to understanding and supporting youth activists as they grow to exercise their political power for positive social change.

«This is a creative and exciting exploration of urban youth activism. Through the narrated experiences of five urban youth organizers, Elizabeth Bishop explores collective and socially conscious meaning-making and the efforts of these remarkable young people to create a more just, equitable, and peaceful world. Perhaps the most valuable contribution of this book is that it foregrounds the myriad ways that these and other «growing adults who possess the capacity to be leaders in the present» grapple with issues of oppression, organize for justice, and in the process build and leverage critical literacy skills to engage in civic action. Arguably, as an aging country, with a rapidly changing demographic, we ignore, at our peril, social capital inherent in these civically conscious youth. We owe a debt of gratitude, but also a responsibility, to the youth profiled in these pages, to value and learn from their civically minded individual and collective concerns.» (Kim Gomez, Associate Professor, Departments of Education and Information Studies, UCLA)
«In most of the major civil rights movements of our time, young people have taken the lead and put themselves on the front lines in the struggle for social justice. Becoming Activist highlights the narratives of five youth activists who, as they shape a life for themselves, take up issues of access to equitable education, healthcare, and other services all humans deserve. Activists young and old have much to learn from the members of the Drop Knowledge Project featured in this groundbreaking book. Richly woven narratives provide a look into how these youth activists support one another, organize, and push for change in their local communities at the intersection of critical literacy and social action. Anyone who reads this book cannot help but gain incredible insight into the developmental intricacies of grassroots activism, youth agency, and critical literacy. I predict that readers will ultimately be inspired to find their own voice in the perennial fight for social justice in societies – here in America, and around the globe.» (Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Assistant Professor, English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University)

«This is a creative and exciting exploration of urban youth activism. Through the narrated experiences of five urban youth organizers, Elizabeth Bishop explores collective and socially conscious meaning-making and the efforts of these remarkable young people to create a more just, equitable, and peaceful world. Perhaps the most valuable contribution of this book is that it foregrounds the myriad ways that these and other «growing adults who possess the capacity to be leaders in the present» grapple with issues of oppression, organize for justice, and in the process build and leverage critical literacy skills to engage in civic action. Arguably, as an aging country, with a rapidly changing demographic, we ignore, at our peril, social capital inherent in these civically conscious youth. We owe a debt of gratitude, but also a responsibility, to the youth profiled in these pages, to value and learn from their civically minded individual and collective concerns.» (Kim Gomez, Associate Professor, Departments of Education and Information Studies, UCLA)
«In most of the major civil rights movements of our time, young people have taken the lead and put themselves on the front lines in the struggle for social justice. Becoming Activist highlights the narratives of five youth activists who, as they shape a life for themselves, take up issues of access to equitable education, healthcare, and other services all humans deserve. Activists young and old have much to learn from the members of the Drop Knowledge Project featured in this groundbreaking book. Richly woven narratives provide a look into how these youth activists support one another, organize, and push for change in their local communities at the intersection of critical literacy and social action. Anyone who reads this book cannot help but gain incredible insight into the developmental intricacies of grassroots activism, youth agency, and critical literacy. I predict that readers will ultimately be inspired to find their own voice in the perennial fight for social justice in societies – here in America, and around the globe.» (Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Assistant Professor, English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University)