Race and Social Justice in Baltimore: The Youth Perspective
Keywords:Urban Social Work; Social Justice; Race; Advocacy; Mental Health; Human Needs
This paper reflects on the social work process that we undertook to provide youth with a voice
following the ongoing social unrest against police brutality seen nationally with cases such as Michael Brown,
Eric Gardner, Tamir Rice and more recently Freddie Gray in Baltimore. While the larger context of race and social justice in America continues to be discussed by many main stream and social media outlets, experts, and other adults, this paper is unique in that it provides a voice to black youth who were directly involved in the social justice responses of both peaceful and civil unrest within Baltimore City following the death of Mr. Freddie Gray. Using a phenomenological approach, we held focus groups with youth offering them an avenue to open up and discuss candidly their understanding of the Baltimore riot and social justice within the context of their city. Additionally, this paper provides the context for and importance of including the voice of black youth within the larger research arena.
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