Resources

Expressive Education Youth Activities

AIRPLANE CAPER
Time: 1–2 minutes
Purpose: Lighten up a tough day; re-energize
Participants: All
Materials needed: Paper
Instructions: Two teams are formed on opposite sides of the room; each person makes a paper airplane. Everyone begins to throw her or his airplane to the other side at once. The goal is not to let any planes land on the floor.
Taken From http://www.onlineexpert.com/elearning/user/pdf/NatSem/ManagingDiverseWorkforce/Team-BuildingGamesActivitiesIdeas.pdf
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WALK THIS WAY
Time: 10–15 minutes
Purpose: Encourages risk
Participants: All can play — one at a time
Materials needed: Music
Instructions: Everyone stands in a room leaving a path through the middle of the group. One person at a time walks or dances through the path from one end to the other. Each person in turn must follow, but each walk or dance step must be different than any that have been done before.
Desired outcome: As one person said, “After you’ve behaved like an idiot, for the rest of the day you’ll take any risk to get the job done!”
Taken From http://www.onlineexpert.com/elearning/user/pdf/NatSem/ManagingDiverseWorkforce/Team-BuildingGamesActivitiesIdeas.pdf
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SNEAK A PEEK GAME
Time Required: 10 minutes
This problem solving activity requires little more than a couple of sets of children’s building blocks. The instructor will build a small sculpture with some of the building blocks and hide it from the group. The participants should then be divided into small teams of four. Each team should be given enough building material so that they can duplicate the structure you’ve already created. The instructor should then place their sculpture in an area that is an equal distance from all the groups. One member from each team can come up at the same time to look at the sculpture for ten seconds and try to memorize it before returning to their team. After they return to their teams, they have twenty-five seconds to instruct their teams about how to build an exact replica of the instructor’s sculpture. After one minute of trying to recreate the sculpture, another member from each team can come up for a “sneak a peek” before returning to their team and trying to recreate the sculpture. The game should be continued in this pattern until one of the team’s successfully duplicates the original sculpture. This game will teach participants how to problem solve in a group and communicate effectively.
Taken From http://www.huddle.com/blog/team-building-activities/
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STANDOFF
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Release Energy
Participants: All can play — divide into two teams
Materials needed: None
Instructions: This game is designed as a large game of rock paper scissors with each team huddling together and deciding what they will pick. When the judge calls “standoff” both teams line up back to back and on the count of three turn around and show their respective choice. If both teams have the same sign they go back to a huddle to make a new choice. If one team has rock and another paper then the rock team must run to a designated safe zone while the paper team chases them down. Anyone tagged before reaching the safe zone or crossing a safe line then joins that team. The game finishes when all members are on one team. A variation of this could be a substitution of rock paper scissors for cowboy, bear, ninja or any other goofy combination.
An STK Original
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DEAD FISH
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Release Energy
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: Music
Instructions: All participants are encouraged to dance as goofily as possible along with the music until the designated judge turns it off. When the music stops all participants must stop dancing and collapse to the floor and remain motionless while the judge walks among them looking for any movement. Those caught moving then join the judge in observing their fellow “dead fish.” When the music begins again all the dead fish get up and begin dancing again. This is continued until all participants are out or a change of game is needed. For an added twist of fun dead fish can make ridiculous poses on the ground in conjunction with each other.

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BIG WIND BLOWS/TRAINWRECK
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Learn about one another
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: Chairs/Marker of Position
Instructions: Have participants arrange their chairs in a large circle spaced about the room with one designated individual standing in the middle (there should be one less chair then there are people playing). The individual in the middle then makes a value statement, a factual statement about themselves, or something that they like. It should look something like this “The Big Wind Blows If… you are from Wisconsin, you like McDonalds, you think football is better than baseball etc. If you agree with the statement that was made or it applies to you then you must get up from your seat and rush to find another open seat. You cannot run to a seat to your direct left or right. If you cannot find a seat or they are all taken then you become the new individual in the middle and proceed to make a new statement. A variation of this game is to have the option of calling “Trainwreck” at which point everyone must get up from their seats to find a new spot.

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MUSICAL CHAIRS
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Release Energy
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: Chairs, Music
Instructions: There should be one less chair than there are participants. The leader should turn the music on and everyone begins walking in a circle around the chairs. When the music stops everyone must attempt to find a seat, whoever does not have a seat is eliminated. A chair is taken out and the game continues. It helps if the leader in control of the music is not watching the participants, this way it is completely neutral.

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THE SKYS THE LIMIT
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Teamwork
Participants: All can play – Teams of 4
Materials needed: Tower Building Materials (10 soda cans per team), Two Marshmallows per team, Two Blindfolds per team, masking tape
Instructions: Tape off a zone for each team (5×5 feet). Give each team ten soda cans and two marshmallows. The task for each team is to build the tallest tower they can in a four minute span. The base of the tower can only be one can. Two team members must be blindfolded. Only the blindfolded team members can touch the cans. Positions can be rotated during the time span. If a team runs out of cans they may grab extra cans that will be available (at no other time can a team member leave their masking tape zone). Marshmallows are used to try and take down opposing towers. They may be blocked and be picked up again and used only if they can be reached without leaving the zone. At four minutes call time and everyone must stop what they’re doing and the height will be measured. This can be repeated and the base can now be more than one can or maybe have no blindfolds this time, the possibilities are endless.
Taken From More Activities That Teach by Tom Jackson pages 306-308

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NAME DUEL
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Learning Names
Participants: All can play – divide into two teams
Materials needed: Sheet
Instructions: The group is divided into two teams and separated by a large sheet or blanket that is held by two referees. The opposing teams should not be able to see each other, and may have to huddle so that no one can be seen on the outside edges of the blanket. While the blanket is still being held up each team will silently select one member of their team to approach the blanket as their chosen dueler. When the judges see that each team has chosen a dueler they will count to three and drop the sheet. Whoever says the name of the other dueler first wins and the loser must join the winning duelers team. Each team then selects a new dueler and the process continues until all members are on one team.
An STK Original
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PEOPLE PICTIONARY
Time: 10-20 minutes
Purpose: Teamwork
Participants: All can play – divide into desired teams
Materials: None
Instructions: This game operates similarly to pictionary except that instead of drawing the object/action teams must attempt to recreate it using their bodies in conjunction with each other. There are a number of variations of this game where both teams are given a word and a neutral party or judge decides who better represents the object or word or teams can be given separate words and the other team must try and guess what their word is. Teams are welcome to lay on the ground in a 2D form or stand and create a 3D image.
An STK Original
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PTERODACTYL
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Icebreaker, make a fool of yourself
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Participants form a circle and cover their teeth with their lips so that when they bite down their lips are between their teeth. The selected participant begins by looking to either his left or right and saying pterodactyl. The receiving participant can then either pass the “pterodactyl” in the same direction or reverse it back to the original participant by making a dinosaur squawk/roar. It is extremely difficult not to laugh or show one’s teeth but as an added challenge those who show their teeth can be eliminated as participants should try and “hold it together” as best they can.

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VILLAGE CHIEF/FOLLOW THE LEADER
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Teamwork, Fun
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Have everyone space themselves out in a circle either sitting or standing. Have one participant be the designated “stranger” and leave the circle and be out of sight or earshot of the rest of the group. The remaining individuals decide who will be their “leader” or “chief.” Everyone in the circle must then imitate the leader for the remainder of the game (if they put their hands on their head or start clapping everyone else must do their best to follow them). The stranger then returns to the circle and must guess who the leader is (they are only allowed a certain number of guesses depending on the group size). It is important that participants do not give away who their leader is, that is to say they should not be staring directly at the leader or fail to switch over to a new gesture when the leader does, attention is key.

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SILENT LINEUP
Time: 2-5 minutes
Purpose: Communication, Split into teams
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Tell the participants that for the next game they must remains silent throughout the entire game until instructed to speak again. Tell a fellow leader to stand on the opposite side of the room and then tell the participants to line up from yourself to the other leader by order of… age, shoe size, height, hand size, number of people in your immediate family – and then count off for the desired number of teams. This is a great activity to mix people up and make it fun.

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ANIMAL LINE
Time: 2-5 minutes
Purpose: Communication, Split into teams, Be goofy
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Instruct the participants that you cannot talk for this activity. Whisper into each participants ear the name of an animal and then have them line up in order of… size, height, ferocity – and they can only communicate by acting like their animal or making their animal’s sound.

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COUNT TO 15
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Communication, Teamwork
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Have everyone sit in a circle facing outwards. The group must try to count to 15 without anyone speaking at the same time or saying the same number. If this happens you must restart from  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THUMPER
Time: 5-10 minutes
Purpose: Communication, Be Goofy
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Arrange participants in a circle so everyone can see each other. Each person must come up with their own sign/gesture with their hands or face. You can use a theme such as animals and have each person make a sign and a sound to make the game even goofier. Go around the circle a few times to make sure everyone knows each sign. To begin the game one person flashes their own sign followed by the sign of another participant. That person then flashes their own sign and the sign of another participant. Play can continue indefinitely or people can be eliminated for hesitating or forgetting to flash their own sign.

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SOME CALL IT ART
Time: 10-20 minutes
Purpose: Communication
Participants: All can play, Teams of Two Needed
Materials needed: Two pieces of paper per person, pencils, three example drawings
Instructions: Hold up an example drawing to the participants and let them examine it for twenty seconds, then blindfold the participants and have them attempt to draw the picture from memory. The picture should not be too complicated but should require participants to pick up their pencil for different parts (A house with a door, chimney, and windows, with a tree on one side). After the participants have finished they should compare their drawing with the original. For round two grab a new example picture and have participants split into pairs. One partner will draw blindfolded while the other is allowed to view the example picture and guide their partner with verbal cues only. For round three have the partners switch roles and grab a third example picture to draw. After this round compare the drawings to the examples.
Discussion: What was the difference between round one and rounds two and three? Was it difficult to follow directions? Give directions? What can this activity tell us about communication? What can we do to make sure our communication is clear?
Taken From: More Activities That Teach by Tom Jackson page 266-268

Expressive Youth Activities: With New Activities Being Added Regularly!

1. LIFEBOAT
Time: An hour
Purpose: Discover how emotions effect the success of our negotiations
Participants: One or several small groups
Materials needed: List of 15 people in a yacht
Instructions: Give the team or teams a list of 15 people who are on a yacht. Tell them that the yacht developed a leak and is sinking fast. There is only one lifeboat and it will accommodate only nine people — not one more can fit and there are no more lifeboats or life jackets. The group must then come to an agreement as to which of 15 people gets to go in the lifeboat and be saved. However, they must also list those they save in order of importance — because if they run out of food and water the “less important people’ will have to be dumped overboard. Of course this is often the more difficult job.The key for this game is to make the 15 people on the list as controversial as possible. For example include a priest, minister, rabbi or all three! A pregnant woman, powerful leaders from both major political parties, an ex-convict, a male physician and a female
one, a political lobbyist, people of different ethnicities, etc — the more emotionally charged the list the better. Give them a period of time to work out the problem. Make it long enough to get into heated discussion but short enough to be pressed for time. I usually allow six to ten
minutes. The discussion afterward should be in depth and include everyone on the team. You can facilitate with questions. Such as …
What problems did you experience? How did you resolve these issues? Was it the best way? How else could you have resolved your differences? Why did these problems occur in the first place?
Then…
How does this exercise reflect your day-to-day relationships? What are the similarities between what you just experienced and negotiations at work and at home?
After fully exploring these questions ask your team — or teams — to reconvene. This time they will list three things they would do differently now that they have had this discussion. Be sure to tell them that this follow-up exercise is not about the lifeboat or anyone on it — it is about the process of negotiation.
Desired outcome: The critical take away here is that negotiation often fails because each participant wants to get his or her way. A better method may be to first learn the needs and intents of others. Understanding fosters a spirit of cooperation and therefore agreement. Use the three things each team determines they learned as a guide to create better understanding in future meetings and discussions.
Taken From http://www.onlineexpert.com/elearning/user/pdf/NatSem/ManagingDiverseWorkforce/Team-BuildingGamesActivitiesIdeas.pdf

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2. I ADMIRE OTHERS
Time: A few minutes
Purpose: To develop models of behavior
Participants: Any number of players
Materials needed: Paper and pen
Instructions: Everyone writes on a piece of paper the words, “I admire others who …” The game now has four steps:
1. Instruct players to think of people they admire and why.
2. Give the players one minute to finish that sentence. Ask them to use positive language; for example instead of writing, “I admire others who are not negative,” write “I admire others who are positive.” They are to continue to write free form for one minute without regard to punctuation, grammar, or spelling — just a constant flow of thoughts as they think of others they admire.
3. Have a few volunteers read what they wrote starting with the introductory words, “I
admire others who …”
4. Now ask that they draw a line through the words, “I admire others who …” and insert these words: “I am powerful when I …” Ask volunteers to read again, this time using the new introductory words.
Desired outcome: Participants understand that what they most admire in others they can do themselves. It encourages others with simplicity and ease to be the best they can be.
Taken From http://www.onlineexpert.com/elearning/user/pdf/NatSem/ManagingDiverseWorkforce/Team-BuildingGamesActivitiesIdeas.pdf

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3. WHAT’S IN YOUR TREASURE BOX?
Time: Half to one hour
Purpose: Players realize all the things of value they have in their lives
Participants: Any number can play
Materials needed: For each player: a small box, several pieces of paper and a pen
Instructions:
• Each person writes everything they want in their life — things they have as well as things they don’t yet have — but only one thing per piece of paper.
• Ask them to take ten minutes to complete but they must pretend that when they are done only things they wrote will be theirs for life. Anything they forget, they will never have. For example, if they forget to write ‘good health’ they will not have it in their lives. So suggest they write fast and include essentials first.
• When complete, ask them to put all pieces of paper with things they have inside their ‘treasure boxes.’ Their assignment is to put one action step on the back of each paper for something they don’t have, which will help get it in the box.
Desired outcome: The marvelous discovery we already have much of what we truly value and clarity on how to start acquiring the rest.
Taken From http://www.onlineexpert.com/elearning/user/pdf/NatSem/ManagingDiverseWorkforce/Team-BuildingGamesActivitiesIdeas.pdf
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4. LIFE HIGHLIGHT GAME
Time Required: 30 minutes
This is an excellent icebreaker activity that’s perfect for small and large groups alike. Begin by asking each participant to close their eyes for one minute and consider the best moments of their lives. This can include moments they’ve had alone, they’ve shared with family or friends; these moments can pertain to professional successes, personal revelations, or exciting life adventures. After the participants have had a moment to run through highlights of their lives, inform them that their search for highlights is about to be narrowed. Keeping their eyes closed, ask each participant to take a moment to decide what 30 seconds of their life they would want to relive if they only had thirty seconds left in their life. The first part of the activity enables participants to reflect back on their lives, while the second part (which we’ll discuss in a moment) enables them to get to know their coworkers on a more intimate level. The second portion of the game is the “review” section. The leader of the activity will ask each and every participant what their 30 seconds entailed and why they chose it, which will allow participants to get a feel for each other’s passions, loves, and personalities.
Taken From – http://www.huddle.com/blog/team-building-activities/

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5. TAKE A STAND/VALUES CONTINUUM
Time: 15-30 Minutes
Purpose: Critical Thinking,
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: Paper Signs
Instruction: If You Don’t Stand For Something, You Will Fall For Anything – Make four signs/a continuum of strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree – Players start in the middle of the room. As you read each value statement, players must move without talking to the sign that best represents their opinion and expresses their stand on the issue. After everyone chooses a corner, ask players to discuss for a minute or two the issue with a partner. After 1-2 minutes, ask volunteers to share with everyone why they made their decision. Listen to at least one opinion from each category. Repeat for each new statement.
Going Deeper: Why is it important to take a stand on issues? What are some factors you consider when making decisions about controversial issues you face in life? Did you change your mind when you heard other people share why they chose a sign different from yours? Why? How difficult was it not to debate or argue while you listened to others? What can you gain from hearing others out?
Examples for Value Statements: I feel I am getting a good education, Being poor is worse than being alone, Dogs are better than cats- Make these statements as serious or as goofy as you want. Tailor the questions to your audience and maybe even have them come up with value statements.

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6. UNFAIR QUIZ SHOW
Time: 5-15 Minutes
Purpose: Critical Thinking
Participants: All can play – Divide into two teams
Materials needed: Questions, Scorecard
Instruction: Write out a set of questions with some easy and others that are much more difficult. Divide participants into two groups. Without telling players about the underlying bias in this game give one group all the easy questions and give the other all the hard questions. Award one point per correct answer. Periodically note the score for the two teams and use body language to express favoritism for the team with the easy questions.
Going Deeper: Did you feel you were treated unfairly? How did you feel about the questions you were asked? In what kinds of situations have you seen people treated unfairly? What groups of people throughout history have been treated unfairly? Who has responded to unfairness in ways that you admire? Why? What have they done? What can you do when you see someone treated unfairly?Sample Questions: Who is the current president of the US, five plus five equals, when is Halloween -vs.- What is the square root of pi? What is the current national debt of the United States? How do you count to ten in German?

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1. SONG OFF/SONG WARS
Time: 5-15 Minutes
Purpose: Fun, Expression
Participants: All can play – split into as many teams desired
Materials needed: Paper and Pens (one set per team)
Instruction: Split the group into desired number of teams and explain that you’ll give teams the same word such as love, blue, or Christmas, and ask them to compile a list of as many songs including that words as possible within one minute. Tell them you’ll point to teams one at a time to sing a song line within three seconds, using the word you gave out. Let teams know you’re the song judge (recruit others if you aren’t confident in your musical knowledge). Others must recognize the line from a real song (not a composed line on the spot). A group is out if the repeat another group’s song or they can’t think of a song within three seconds. Start the singing and let the fun begin! If this is too limiting for players give them a larger range such as a topic of love instead of the word “love.” To make things even more challenging have the final song off include choreography and a full song.
Going Deeper: How does competition enhance performance? How does a creative spirit help you in leadership and teamwork? How does laughter build a healthy team environment? How can you include laughter in your teamwork?
Taken From Great Group Games, Ragsdale, page 131

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2. GROUP POETRY
Time: 15-45 minutes
Purpose: Creativity
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: Paper, Pencils, index cards
Instructions: Make sure each player has a piece of paper, pen, and index card. Ask them to free write for 5-7 minutes (or give a theme such as fun, relationships, love, family, hobbies). When time is up ask them to pick their favorite line or sentence and write it on an index card. After forming groups of 4-6 people have them put all the index cards in the order they choose to create a group poem. If needed, they may add a few more sentences to provide transition. Ask groups to share their creative works out loud.
Going Deeper: What was your favorite part of this exercise? What did you think of the transformation from your individual poem to a group poem? What are the advantages and disadvantages of group projects with many authors? Is it a good thing to collaborate? Why or why not? How does the final outcome of a project change when you work with others? What did you learn about your teammates’ outlook or values from their lines of poetry?
Taken From Great Group Games, Ragsdale, page 112

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3. LETTER WRITING
Time: 15-45 minutes
Purpose: Creativity
Participants: All can play
Materials needed: Paper, Pencils, (Possibly Envelopes and Stamps)
Instructions: A recent study conducted by the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime found that the ability to imiagine one’s self in the future has a direct impact on their propensity to commit crime. The study showed that individuals who wrote letters to their future selves (whether it be 3 months in the future or twenty years in the future) made better decisions surrounding life choices involving committing crimes. For many individuals who commit crimes they live solely in the here and now, this is an opportunity for them do some deeper thinking about how their current actions affect the future they want for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Some Great Guided Reflection Questions Can Be Found Here
– http://teacherweb.com/MN/PineIslandSchools/NRusch/Write-a-Letter-to-Your-Future-Self2.pdf –
Who are you now? What is the world you live in like? What do you do? Who are the people in your life? What are your hopes for the future? Who do you hope to be talking to?

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The Following is PDFs for Tabling

  1. Save the Kids Price Sheet
  2. Against Incarcerating Youth Sign
  3. Save the Kids Sign Up Sheet
  4. Save the Kids Logo for Photos
  5. Malcolm X Flyer
  6. Ending the School to Prison Pipeline Problems, Alternatives, and Tactics
  7. # No Youth In Prison
  8. Save the Kids Flyer
  9. Schools Vs Prisons
  10. STPP and LGBT Youth
  11. Locating the STPP by ACLU
  12. Are Our Children Being Pushed into Prison?
  13. STPP and Youth with Disabilities – 5Ss of the STPP
  14. Campaign for Youth Justice – Let’s Get Kids Out of Adult Jails, Courts, and Prisons

WAIVERS

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General Organizing Materials

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REPORTS ON ENDING DETENTION 

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DISMANTLING THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE RESOURCES

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DISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS BOOKS

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TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE ARTICLES

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TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE BOOKS

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TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS

Alternatives to Violence Project (we recommend you get their manuals)

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RESOURCES ON PRISON ALTERNATIVES

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YOUTH JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS

______________________________ HIP HOP ACTIVISM BOOKS

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HIP HOP ACTIVIST ORGANIZATIONS

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