Chapter 21: "These are my greatest accomplishments": how US youth activists frame their biggest wins
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Drawing on data from 401 US youth activists, this study examined what they describe as their biggest wins. The most common responses pertained to changing the hearts and minds of others, followed by changes to the policies or practices of their schools, electoral impacts, and local or state policy change. Participants who reported successful direct aid campaigns, school changes, and policy changes rated their activism as more effective than those without these types of wins. Additionally, youth who had been activists for a longer period of time reported greater effectiveness. Identity differences related to the issue areas in which wins were accomplished, rather than the type of win achieved, with the exception of an association between gender and direct aid wins. Findings highlight the need to value “changing hearts and minds” as important wins in wider public discourse and to recognize the wide range of impacts youth activists are achieving.

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