The Black Youth Project (BYP) launched its new website http://www.blackyouthproject.com where young black people can express themselves through the web. Led by University of Chicago political scientist Cathy Cohen, the online resource centers black youth, serving as a forum for expression, and also vital information for research and archiving. I am a big fan (and/or learner) of Cohen's scholarship, especially her work in queer studies. Her seminal article "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?" re- and re-imagines queer coalitional politics and activism. Although in somewhat of a different avenue and population, The Black Youth Project similarly re-imagines possibilities of advocacy and scholarship for black youth through cyberspace.
For myself, as an emerging scholar in Comparative Ethnic Studies, its exciting to see how the web is utilized to support research for and about youth of color as well as community building, particularly in this digital age. From rap lyrics, to research findings, to youth bloggers, the website centers information about and for black youth.
As the website states:
"The Black Youth Project was a national research project launched in 2003 that examined the attitudes, resources, and culture of African American youth ages 15 to 25, exploring how these factors and others influence their decision-making, norms, and behavior in critical domains such as sex, health, and politics. Understanding the need to make this data available to a wider constituency beyond the academy Professor Cathy Cohen, the Black Youth Projects principle investigator, decided to create an online hub for Black youth where scholars, educators, community activist, youth allies, and youth could access the studys research summaries as well as have access to a plethora of resources concerning the empowerment and development of black youth."
An open space, devoid of a capitalistic mass market or stuck in the ivory tower, the website is solely dedicated to advocating black youth through writing, scholarship, and creativity. As stated above, in regards to the inception of the project, I find making research findings public, accessible, and the website continuously utilized to advocate for black youth, an innovative model in using the web as a means of advocacy and intellectual . Additionally, dissemination of creative works by black youth, that will be shared on the website as well, make possibilities endless.
Please keep a look out for Black Youth Project and let interested folks know about it!