Student Activists to Speak about the Role of Social Media and the Web in Mobilizing the Undocumented Youth Movement

Undocumented youth share their stories at the University of Southern California’s “DREAMing Outloud!” event on Nov. 2

LOS ANGELES, November 1, 2011 –  A panel of youth activists will address how they are harnessing social media to mobilize the youth-led DREAM movement at the USC Annenberg’s “DREAMing Outloud!” event on Wednesday, Nov. 2. While working to pass the DREAM Act, young activists have rallied thousands across the country for immigration reform and educational access by using digital media.

Wednesday’s event has grown out of research conducted by Arely Zimmerman for the Media Activism & Participatory Politics (MAPP) project for which the DREAM activists have served as the first of four case studies. The MAPP project, which is part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), examines the potential connections between participatory culture and civic engagement, with the long-term goal of identifying best practices that may inform future efforts to recruit and mobilize young citizens.

“The undocumented youth movement has shown an incredible kind of savvy, or sophistication, for using new media. It really is a media-centered movement. It’s given these youth opportunity to craft their own messages and amplify their voices in the larger social justice movement in America,” said Zimmerman.

The DREAM activists case study captures the experiences of 25 individuals, the majority of whom are undocumented, from various youth-led organizations such as the Los Angeles Dream Team, Dreamers Adrift, and AB540 youth groups on college campuses.

“Their undocumented status makes them a very vulnerable population. This vulnerability serves as a barrier to being politically active, but new media has been an essential key in allowing these youth to find each other and connect via online spaces. It’s that first step in disclosing among their peers what they’ve gone through, and then it’s about that mobilizing factor of connecting them to more formal forms of political participation in their communities and youth groups,” said Zimmerman.

The event is convened by USC Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts Henry Jenkins’ Civic Paths Project at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. As part of the MAPP project, Civic Paths explores continuity between online participatory culture and civic engagement.

Event Information:

Date:                Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Time:                5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location:         Annenberg Room 207
RSVP:              Please click here

About YPP:

The MacArthur Network on Youth & Participatory Politics is an interdisciplinary network of scholars working together to understand the ways youth participation in online networks is shaping and reshaping youth civic and political engagement in the public sphere.

The YPP Network examines:

  • The ways new media may foster a new paradigm for participation in the public sphere
  • How frequently and how equitably youth engage in networked public participation
  • The relationship between online participatory practices and political participation
  • Ways to promote more frequent, more equitable, and higher quality political engagement via participation with new media

Media Contact:

Whitney Burke
Digital Media & Learning Research Hub
University California Humanities Research Institute
tel. 949-824-4587