A conversation was had with former IARYD graduate Dr. Mimi Arbeit and her colleague, Mr. Duane de Four, as part of our ongoing event, PYD & Social Justice: Conversations with Thought Leaders. Their compelling (and convincing) ideas were particularly powerful. This led to difficult topics to cover, and at times painful to realize. But Dr. Lerner asked about hope and the importance of how we might retain any sort of optimism for the future, and Mimi’s response of “organize!” provided very clean answers. Get involved. Joining community organizations can be a part of making necessary changes. That is the key to what I would say to those who feel depressed about the state of our nation.
It’s hard for me to attend these things because I don’t see enough change in society from year to year. It goes way to slow, and from time-to-time society seems to be trending backwards. The talk was interesting. I agree with Mimi that one way to go is to change curricula in schools so that we can start with the very young, by teaching the correct history of this country! I believe fascist/white supremacist are breeding fascist/white supremacist, and I’m not sure we can change that!
Dr. Mimi Arbeit and Duane de Four shared their important call to action and compelling work to integrate antifascism with youth development theory and practice. With the goal of community building and connection, and in recognition that every young person has strengths, we learned that positive youth development practices and frameworks have a great deal to offer to address the threats of fascism and white supremacy and how they are shaping youth today. Key take-home messages were conveyed — we need to invest in people and communities organizing and doing this important work; hope is a practice, grief is a practice, and we must collectively mourn together, rage together, and strengthen the movement for social justice.
Professor Kerri Modry-Mandell
Professor Arbeit and Mr. de Four laid out an impressive presentation about adolescent radicalization (of mostly white males) with white supremacist and fascist ideology in modern America. Although I always appreciate a good theoretical discussion around a social problem, Professor Arbeit and Mr. de Four presented a tour-de-force in how to actually do something to solve it.
Paul A. Chase, PhD, Eliot-Pearson Dept., Tufts University
An extremely informative and interesting talk. They provided a vision as well as practical ideas, practices, and resources for how to engage youth practitioners invested in PYD in the change we want to see and be in the world, a world that is anti-fascist, anti-racist and truly democratic. Very inspiring and hopeful.
Elizabeth Dowling, Ph.D.