CREATIVE REACTION LAB
Empowering Black & Latinx youth to use their unique strengths
Design Impact Volunteer
Creative Reaction Lab (CRL) educates, trains, and challenges Black and Latinx youth to become leaders in designing healthy and racially equitable communities.
Through the Equity-Centered Community Design Framework, CRL and I are creating Identifying Your Inner Activist — a skills-based questionnaire to support Black and Latinx youth in leveraging their unique strengths.
This project is in progress; please feel free to review the work done thus far and check back in for updates.
Activism is a beautiful force that continuously breaks down inequities and builds for liberation. However, it is also often misunderstood, inaccessible and exclusionary.
Misinformation coupled with polarized thinking has led to the perspective that activism is violent or destructive and that there are only a handful of useful activist tactics. This limits the scope of activism and who can participate. Youths in particular are historically undervalued architects of change and culture. Throughout history, youth-led activism such as the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, the March For Our Lives movement, and the Youth Climate Movement has transformed our world for the better. However, there are few resources that encourage and equip youth to become agents of change.
What if there was a tool that could empower youth to redesign a better future for their communities? How can we shift the narrative of what it means to be an activist? We sought to answer this.
Inviting Diverse Co-Creators
We kicked off the project using CRL's framework: Equity-Centered Community Design. This unique creative problem-solving process is based on equity, humility-building, integrating history and healing practices, addressing power dynamics, and co-creating with the community.
Following this framework, we invited diverse co-creators to participate in the development of the project. The team was made up of CRL employees, myself, and local youth — a robust and optimistic team.
CRL employees, myself, and local youth (entire team not pictured here)
History & Healing
To prepare for the project, the team reflected on the history of assessments to address any existing biases or power structures. Personality assessments and questionnaires can be ableist, racist, sexist, or limiting depending on who designs them and how the results are presented. We analyzed these dynamics, and then made a conscious decision to design a framework that allows youth to see their strengths holistically. Instead of viewing themselves as one “type” or grouping them in a “box,” we structured the assessment to show a holistic view of the questionnaire-taker. This not only provides a more accurate view of the self, but it promotes a growth mindset for youth to address underdeveloped areas of their inner activist.
We then developed an Activist Collaboration Diagram that helped illustrate this co-creation mindset and established archetypes for the questionnaire.
Refinement Through Feedback
Through iterative feedback and ideation, we refined these archetypes, created the archetype questions, and brought it to the youth board for feedback. This rich discussion set the foundation for the next step: prototyping.
Prototyping & Learning
Having compiled the feedback from the youth board, the CRL team, and other stakeholders, I created the questionnaire paper prototype. This paper prototype, which includes the questionnaire, the archetype calculation, and the archetype descriptions, was approved by the CRL team and is now undergoing testing by youth enrolled in CRL’s curriculums.
Next Steps: A Digital Format
Once the paper prototype has been thoroughly tested and refined, we plan to transform it into its final digital format — a digital questionnaire accessible to youth across the world.
Former Curriculum Development Coordinator | Creative Reaction Lab