Moral voices of politically engaged urban youth.
The relationship between reflection and action is an enduring question for those interested in promoting moral development among young people. Educators struggle to find effective methods for helping youth reason carefully about moral problems and also to show moral commitment in their everyday lives. One place where reflection and action come together is in youth activism, where young people engage in social action campaigns to improve their schools and communities. What are the moral concerns that urban youth raise when given the opportunity? How do these concerns get translated into action? Drawing on original and secondary sources, this chapter discusses four social action campaigns organized by youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, in which youth combined critical moral judgments with social action. The chapter is not an empirical study, but instead an effort to bring attention to the moral and ethical perspectives that politically engaged youth raise. These social action projects suggest that for youth living in low-income neighborhoods with limited resources, the capacity for critical moral reflection about one's surroundings is an important dimension of healthy development. Helping youth assess and transform their local environments represents a promising direction for moral education and youth development.