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New Arts & Social Justice Camp for Teens

November 10, 2014

In response to several tragic shootings in Greater Seattle involving some of our young people, AALF-Seattle via our Law and Justice Initiative, sponsored a 4-day TEENERGY Social Justice Art Camp for teen girls at Africatown in Columbia City.

TEENERGY are the words ”teen” and “energy” combined and is the brainchild of AALF Executive Board Member, local attorney-artist, Jolyn E. Gardner Campbell.

According to Ms. Gardner, “TEENERGY is designed to empower youth voice and address issues affecting our youth in real time from youth violence and food justice to education and success.”

With the gunning down of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO happening the same week as TEENERGY, the conversations naturally focused on police brutality, white privilege, the school to prison pipeline and cultural stereotypes. The camp curriculum included a variety of units including Creative Research. Using a legal framework adapted from Gardner’s legal training, the youth learned how to research current social justice issues and “issue spots.” Contemporary self-portraits were created to act as a counter-narrative to negative imaging of African American people in the media. At the conclusion on the camp, youth reported feeling more confident in their ability to use their creativity to affect social change.

Ms. Gardner tied TEENERGY to AALF’s mission to, among other goals, create community-based solutions to strengthen youth and children in the African American community of Greater Seattle. AALF convenes experienced and emerging community organizations and leaders in creating a shared action agenda that responds to community issues.

TEENERGY continues this fall for 8 weeks through a partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation Power of Place Youth Violence and Prevention Program in Southeast Seattle.

For more information about TEENERGY or to connect around AALF’s Law & Justice Initiative, contact Ms. Gardner here.