By Sam Piha
As our young people are returning to classrooms and afterschool programs, our country is gripped by confusion, fear, and anger that is a result of hate speech, mass shootings and deportations. This is particularly true for communities of color and other marginalized groups. It is important that afterschool program leaders think about how they will respond and support their young people in light of this crisis.
My family is documented and we’re residents, but regardless of that fact, we’re just scared. We’re afraid that something can go down. Personally, I didn’t want to go to school. Anywhere I go, I feel threatened.
The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence (AzCASE) offers the following tips for afterschool providers:
We would add that it is important for program participants have a regular opportunity, such as a sharing circle, for young people to express their thoughts and concerns - not just when there is a local or national crisis.
It is important that adults and youth do not fall into hopelessness. To avoid this, it is suggested that we find ways to take action for change. Below are some leading organizations, assembled by Youth Service America, that will help you take action:
• March for Our Lives
• Everytown for Gun Safety
• Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence
• The Brady Campaign
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO ICE RAIDS?
We are currently researching how expanded learning programs should respond to ICE raids that impact their participants. We do know that some school districts have addressed this and if your program is school-based, you should seek advice from your school district host. Below are some recommendations from Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), who developed a 10-step guide to help schools and educators support children affected by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids:
Sam Piha is the founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development.