Since November 9th, 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been keeping track of the tremendous increase in hate crimes in the United States. This news, combined with increasing threats to education, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, attacks on healthcare and more, has left the librarians at TLT worrying about the teens that we have committed ourselves to serving, both now and in the future. So we have decided to respond in the only way we know how – through books and information.
Beginning in 2014, we began our campaign on sexual violence (#SVYALit). In 2015, we focused on faith and spirituality (#FSYALit). This year, we focused on mental health (#MHYALit). All those campaigns will continue.
In 2017, we will focus on social justice. #SJYALit. We want to talk about poverty, racism, sexism and all the other issues which have been more fully brought to the surface in this election. This year, we are working to more fully understand the issues and will share our journey with our readership. It is our hope that we can equip those who work with teens with background and information sources that will grow their understanding of and compassion for our teens. Together, we can teach teens to be knowledgeable, compassionate members of society who understand their value.
Social justice is defined as “… promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.” It exists when “all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources.” In conditions of social justice, people are “not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership” (Toowoomba Catholic Education, 2006). (Robinson, https://gjs.appstate.edu/social-justice-and-human-rights/what-social-justice)
My daughter is 14. She will be voting in the next presidential election. So will all of her friends. So will many of your children. So will the teens I work with every day here in my library.
“ . . . social justice is about assuring the protection of equal access to liberties, rights, and opportunities, as well as taking care of the least advantaged members of society.” (Rawls, https://gjs.appstate.edu/social-justice-and-human-rights/what-social-justice)
Please help us. Those of us at TLT are all white women. We know there are many issues that we cannot speak to. But not all of us are straight, not all of us are Christians, and many of us struggle with mental health issues. And all of us love many people who don’t love, think, or believe like us. We care and we need your help.
So here’s what we’re going to do and we are asking for your help. Next year, we will read books, recommend books, and talk about books that focus on social justice issues. We will compile lists. We will compile resources. We will raise awareness and do our best to listen and grow and ask others to listen and grow with us.
The topics we will be covering include:
- Civil Rights
- Dystopian (A look at the role of government)
- Environmental Rights and Protection
- Feminist YA
- GLBTQ Issues and Representation
- Labor (Jobs, Employment, Wages, etc.)
- Mental Health
- Own Voices/Representation
- Politics (Government, Voter’s Rights)
- Poverty & Income Inequality
- Religious Freedom (Faith and Spirituality)
- Reproductive Freedom and Education
- Sexual Violence
- Social Justice 101
- Teen Activism
Each member of TLT will be responsible for coordinating posts on various topics. It will look something like this:
Karen Jensen – Dystopian Lit, Environmental Rights & Protections, Homelessness, Labor, Politics
Heather Booth – Healthcare, Immigration, Own Voices/Representation
Amanda MacGregror – LGBTQIA+, Muslim Rep/Own Voices, Reproductive Freedom, Sexual Violence, Disability Representation
Robin Willis – Civil Rights, Education, Incareration, Poverty/Income Inequality
Ally Watkins – Feminist YA, Mental Health, Religious Freedom
Please Contact Us to Participate
You can contact any of us to participate through Twitter or Email:
Karen Jensen – @tlt16, kjensenmls at yahoo dot com
Heather Booth – @boothheather, teenreadersadvisor at gmail dot com
Amanda MacGregor – @CiteSomething, amanda dot macgregor at gmail dot com
Robin Willis – @robinreads, robinkwillis at gmail dot com
Ally Watkins – @aswatki1, allison dot watkins at eagles dot usm dot edu
In addition, we will be asking you to join us for a monthly book club read and online Twitter chat. We will kick off January with All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. More information will be coming soon.
#SJYALit Post Index
#MHYALit (2016) – Mental Health in YA Lit