Everybody has an analogy for youth participation that has something to do with “The Table”. We want to “make room” at the table, pull a chair up to the table, force a seat at the table – anyway it goes, we just want youth at the table. But what is “The Table”, what youth are actually at the table, what is being said at the table, who is listening, and what is being done because of what has been said?
I’ve discussed this a bit in past blog entries, but I think its important to continually examine the “tables” where youth can actually be involved throughout our communities – especially because those places change everyday. Some groups are dedicated to politics as being the place where youth should be involved; others see technology and media as being the places where youth can be involved. A lot young people are committed to being involved in social justice activism. [One delicisiously healthy “Table” actually serves food.]
Other groups reach beyond a single issue, working with young people to identify and work across Tables. That’s where Freechild is situated: straddling broad platforms for action and identifying broad ranges of action where young people can affect change. What Table do you sit at? How can we work together to join tables, or at least get peoples from your table to sit at the next table? That is movement building.