What to Expect

When I initially told people about this justice week that I had imagined for my middle school students, it sounded like a risky proposition, even to me. How was I going to expose these children to social justice in a way that didn't go too far or not far enough? Would they really find an issue they were passionate about? Would they comprehend the difference between justice and charity? Would they complete a project? Would they follow-up? Would their hearts and minds be changed? for a day? for a week? for a lifetime?

I can't measure how they changed, but I can tell you what I saw. I saw struggles with jumping to a solution before understanding the problem. I saw anger at the way things are. I saw stereotypes broken down. I saw passion, commitment and the dawning of comprehension. I heard ideas and saw projects from the students that changed me.

Everyone we encountered along the way made comments about how impressed they were with these kids and their ability to grasp complex concepts and be so engaged. While I also think this is a special group of kids, I know they can't be the only ones with this potential and it makes me wonder why we, as a society, have such a difficult time appreciating the input, perspectives and contributions of our youth. That's why I would love to see this project replicated and shared.