Chain Reaction: A Youth-driven, Multimedia Storytelling Project Promoting Alternatives to Calling the Police

Sarah Brewster, Jane Hereth

Abstract


The authors detail their work with Chain Reaction, a Chicago-based participatory action research and popular education project working to spark conversations about alternatives to calling the police on young people. As volunteers for Chain Reaction, we facilitated a series of workshops an LGBTQ youth center in which youth used digital audio recorders to interview each other about their experiences with police, then curated the stories for a toolkit on alternatives to policing. As the stories consistently reflect, when young people become involved with the police, it often sets off a chain reaction that can result in dropping out of school, losing jobs, and ongoing contact with state systems. The goal of Chain Reaction is to support community-based strategies for stopping these cycles. We explore the theoretical frameworks and the limitations and successes of the project, and offer suggestions for those interested in doing similar projects.

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing, and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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