This summer, Street-Level joined the Young Invincibles and Roosevelt Institute Campus Network’s Illinois Next Generation Leadership Agenda (NextGen IL) initiative, a collaborative effort to bring teens and young adults across Illinois together to discuss state-level politics and to create a cohesive young adult political platform. As a NextGen core partner, Street-Level has convened a group of high school and college-aged Chicago youth in the documentation of IL caucuses and the September convention taking place in Chicago, and production of media work inspired by and promoting awareness and education of civic issues that are being addressed by the initiative.
The goal Street-Level’s NextGen Media team set for this year is to foster civic engagement among their peers through the digital content they create and distribute, while promoting the NextGen IL campaign and upcoming convention. In addition to hosting our own caucus at Street-Level, the team has been producing media content that is featured on our NextGen project website and linked to the campaign’s web and social media sites. Through our collaboration, Street-Level is helping drive traffic to the NextGen IL website and helping our target youth population gain a better understanding of the initiative’s relevance to their lives, rather than seeing it as an academic exercise—the impression some have youth voiced in their initial interaction with the campaign.
“I think that what we’re doing is amazing, and it makes me feel accomplished. I’ve learned that more things affect us as youth, and I’m happy that I can do something to change it. Our mentor Christian Snow told us ‘this can change the world’ which inspires me to try harder.” -Conell Richard
“The Next Gen Project has been very helpful for me. I have learned things like France is number one in the world of health care systems. I also learned that deodorant, conditioner and lotions are considered bad for the environment. Not only am I learning new things, but I’m also doing something I love, which is video.” -Iyuna Murphy
“The NextGen project has created an opportunity for me that has changed my view on important issues. Through NextGen, I learned that the percent of minorities in prison is higher than the percent of minorities in America. This type of information is key to youth in my demographic.” -Ira Jeter