By Abigail Harris-Ridker and Liz London
“Excuse me, but this happened months ago, why are we only talking about this now?”
– Alina, Sinclair High School book group participant
Alina asked this question during the first day of our Response to Violence curriculum, which addressed the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO as well as police brutality and violence in Chicago and nationally. Alina was angry because she and her peers, most of whom have personal stories of police brutality, had never been given the opportunity to discuss these issues, either in school or in our program. However, it was clear that our book group created a different kind of safe space where she expected we would process these topics together – and she felt ownership over that.