Heal the Streets- Our Focus in 2012

This year’s Heal The Streets cohort continues to put solutions for violence in the hands of the young people in Oakland. Each year the fellows conduct a Participatory Action Research project.

In 2012, we are doing our research a little differently. We chose to use Forum Theatre/ Theatre of the Oppressed because we wanted a more engaging method for collecting data. Youth feedback was that, while surveys and focus groups are useful, they can often feel boring and one dimensional. Forum Theatre has been used as a proven method to mobilize thousands of people in places like Brazil and India, and organize to create real change among communities. 

Through Forum Theatre, our fellows act out a 10-minute skit based on a day in the life of two young people experiencing violence rooted in forms of oppression and economic struggle (worship of money v. need for money). When done, they run through it again, this time engaging the audience members by having them replace characters and intervene in ways they feel might yield better results. We'll be doing workshops using this method with youth groups around Oakland in upcoming months.

After we've conducted the workshops, the fellows will use this information to generate a report based on successful interventions, and then plan their action based on the potential solutions. Stay tuned to see what this inspiring group of youth comes up with.