There is little question that many Black, Latinx and immigrant youth are experiencing socio-emotional trauma caused, in part, by racism and other systemic ills. But are there programs in place that address their needs? That is the question that a research project recently funded by the IU Racial Justice Research Fund seeks to answer.
The “Building Bridges for Youth and Community Well-being Amidst the Time of Racial Strife” project was generated out of conversations with IUPUI faculty members, students and staff along with community partners as part of the IUPUI Community Engaged Research Group (CERG). CERG convenings surfaced issues around the socio-emotional well-being of Black, Latinx and immigrant students and their families.
“CERG has provided a forum for us to think about the challenges in our community, with our community partners, and how research can help address them,” said Khaula Murtadha, principle investigator on the grant and Associate Vice Chancellor in the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement. To better understand these issues, the research project will work with the Marion County Council on Youth (MCCOY) to identify existing youth programs offered by community-based organizations (CBOs) including nonprofits, libraries, and faith-based institutions.
To understand the needs of the youth, the project will hold focus groups and survey Black, Latinx and immigrant youth aged 12 to 17. The next phase of the project will bring the youth and CBOs together in workshops and conversations to co-create programming that addresses the needs of the youth that are not currently provided by the CBOs. Both the CBOs and the youth will be compensated for their participation in this project.
“We’re excited to partner with IUPUI on this project,” said John Brandon, executive director for MCCOY. “It will provide us with a lot of insight into the gaps in programming in our community that we very much need to address.”
The project will also culminate in a video that captures this project and can be used to better inform programming by organizations for this population.