More and more, young people want to participate in civic spaces—including spaces that are online. Allen suggests that when people choose to take action to strengthen their communities, they should consider ten important questions. She and her colleagues write: “Whether you’re creating your first Facebook page to support a cause you care about, or seeking to engage your friends, associates, and even strangers in a new platform aimed to achieve civic ends, these ten questions will help frame your decisions. Use them to shape your strategy and to check whether you’re doing everything in your power to achieve maximum impact.”
These ten questions are called the Youth Participatory Politics (or YPP) Framework. Share them with students:
- Why does it matter to me?
- How much [about myself] should I share?
- How do I make it about more than myself?
- Where do we start?
- How can we make it easy and engaging?
- How do [we] get wisdom from crowds?
- How do [we] handle the downside of crowds?
- Does raising voices count as [civic and] political action?
- How do we get from voice to change?
- How can we find allies?
One way to help students think more deeply about this framework and envision how they might use it in their own civic participation is by observing how others have answered them. As students reflect on each of the stories below, they might consider how these actions and strategies they learn about could strengthen democracy.
Choose one or more of the following readings from Chapter 12: Choosing to Participate of Holocaust and Human Behavior, and ask students to think about how the individuals featured in each reading might have answered Allen’s ten questions:
- Not in Our Town
- The Voices of Millions
- Can a Word Make a Difference?
- Seeking a Strategy That Works
- Believing in Others
You might finish the lesson by discussing what students have determined about the usefulness of the framework. What do these questions suggest about the potential opportunities and difficulties in making positive social change and building a stronger democracy?