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Citizens in the PresentYouth Civic Engagement in the Americas$
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Maria de los Angeles Torres, Irene Rizzini, and Norma Del Rio

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037658

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037658.001.0001

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Chicago Youth Activists

Chicago Youth Activists

Home Matters in Their Search for Democracy

(p.29) Two Chicago Youth Activists
Citizens in the Present

Maria de los Angeles Torres

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines youth civic engagement in Chicago, with particular emphasis on young people's attitudes regarding democracy. Drawing on interviews with directors and youth workers in a variety of organizations throughout the city, it looks at young people participating in empowerment projects and how they engage. The discussion focuses on youth activists' demographics and families as well as early influences on them, their self-perceptions, and their social awareness. It shows that awareness of shared characteristics was an important first step for these young people in becoming part of a social group. The prevalent social categories identified as important by the youths included age, race, ethnicity, and gender. The chapter also considers the impact of discrimination on youth activism, along with the issues important to Chicago's young people and the ways in which they engaged with such issues, including immigration and the electoral process, and their political ideas with respect to topics like democracy and the place of the United States in the world.

Keywords:   youth, civic engagement, Chicago, empowerment, youth activists, social awareness, race, discrimination, activism, democracy

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