Highly Effective Social Justice Education: Roots of Change Summer Camp (Photos)
“There is no greater tragedy in a Black male’s life than incarceration,” said Bess D. Thomas, Superintendent of the New Orleans East Police Department and a Promise Neighborhood chief mentor at the Roots of Change Summer Camp for Young Children, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “It has a devastating effect on children and families in the community and does not just affect Black males, but all our communities.”
“One of the things I like best about my job is seeing youth grow and learn. And, seeing what they can do when they are given opportunities, like Roots of Change Summer Camp. … It’s important for them to have this opportunity. Our children need the opportunity to develop strategies for building healthy futures,” she continued.
The Roots of Change Summer Camp, a program of the social justice nonprofit Social Services Network (SSN), is just one program offering crucial lessons in innovative social-justice education. These social justice approaches tend to view inequity not only as a problem but as a developmental matter–a matter of how the child/generation perceives, experiences, and justifies his/her place in the world. After the childhood growing pains of racism and sexism, scholars are learning that the determinants of a child’s future are not so much his/her genes but also his/her belief system.
When a child is born, he or she experiences a unique set of developmental and existential factors, which the child/generation engages in determining and interpreting certain life experiences. By the time he or she enters high school, those developmental patterns have been assimilated into the child/generation’s belief system and can be discovered in what can best be described as stereotypical thinking. In short, thinking usually develops about its own (supposed) consequences or what it perceives as its corresponding benefits. It also, naturally, tends to choose directions more aligned with the way it believes its ideas to be right.
The ends as well as the means of effective education in the schools and classrooms of our public and private schools is constantly being analyzed and critiqued as research pertaining to social and behavioral change also becomes more clear. While we work to educate all children–the near-majority of whom are Black males–the mis-education of children–let’s face it, most of whom are young Black males–is more than a problem, or a situation that requires immediate attention. And as we talk about the youth being lost, we should also keep in mind the fact that the youth are also lost as a result of the wrong behaviors at school, in the neighborhoods, or with the parents they have; in addition, however, the youth’s lethargy, lethargy, neglect of community activities, self-reliance and reclusion all fall into a larger stack of missing basics, mistakes, and wrong results.
Read More about Essential Social Justice Education