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

Sarah Brewster, Jane Hereth


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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