What is it about?
In this study, we pursue the possibility that Latina/o youth envision their potential to contribute to their communities in ways that are not accounted for in traditional measures of civic engagement. Our analysis of responses from 686 Latinx high school students suggests multiple pathways for making a difference in their communities, including community-building and participation, advocacy efforts, investing in and affirming their own and others’ cultures, and through education. We discuss how the results align with a typology of civic engagement and with the components of critical consciousness (critical reflection, agency, and action).
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Why is it important?
In contrast with research findings Latina/o youth are less likely to volunteer or participate in other forms of civic engagement, our participants identified rich and multifaceted avenues by which they make a difference in their communities. We should broaden conceptualizations of civic engagement to incorporate and reflect the range of Latina/o youth community involvement suggested by our participants. Considering cultural pride, persistence, and thriving as acts of resistance and forms of sociopolitical engagement may better reflect the lived realities of Latina/o youth, and validate the extent to which they invest energy into our communities. Efforts to support Latina/o youth civic engagement should recognize and affirm their current pathways of engagement, and provide opportunities and scaffolding for building their personal and collective efficacy and their critical consciousness.
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This page is a summary of: “Never give up. Fight for what you believe in”: Perceptions of how Latina/o adolescents can make a difference., Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, December 2018, American Psychological Association (APA),
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