OPS 7 - At a Crossroads: Youth Organizing in the Midwest

FCYO's Occasional Papers Series (OPS) is a series of papers aiming to capture and document growing knowledge around youth organizing, and address key issues and questions commonly posed by funders and practitioners about the work and field overall. There are 11 OPS installments, which explain the theories behind youth organizing as a strategy for transformative youth development and social change, track the history of youth organizing in different regions across the United States, and uplift the individual, community and societal impacts of youth organizing.

The FCYO started the Occasional Papers Series (OPS) to promote learning and dialogue with funders, community groups, and other interested parties about youth organizing. The first installment, Papers 1 through 4, provide foundational discussions about youth organizing and its connection to youth development. The second and third installments, Papers 5 through 9 explore youth organizing in various regional contexts in an effort to deepen our understanding and continue to spark ongoing conversation.

In OPS 7, At a Crossroads: Youth Organizing in the Midwest, Melissa Spatz challenges the notion of a homogenous Midwest, to map the contours of a growing and increasingly varied field in and beyond Chicago. The author identifies the contributions and qualities of local organizing. By no means comprehensive, this paper examines this ever-evolving field from a given moment in time, and is deeply informed by youth, practitioners, intermediaries and funders.