A rise in incidents of student violence and intolerance have initiated a call to action. The AjA Project’s participatory photography program, PhotoCity, teaches youth to turn the lens outward and critically examine community issues that affect their daily lives.
AjA’s action-based workshop focuses on bullying, safety and violence prevention. Through photography-based activities, such as Mapping Bullying, youth are documenting locations around school with high concentrations of bullying. Additional arts-based activities are geared toward the following themes:
1. Who is being bullied
2. Why kids bully
3. The consequences of bullying
4. The role of social media in bullying
These and other exercises empower youth to examine safety issues from their perspective and provide a platform from which youth-led solutions can emerge. At the completion of the workshop, AjA identifies the most salient safety themes and partners with local schools, community organizations and policy makers to create change on a systemic level. AjA youth have given presentations during Anti-Bullying Week and the Commission for Gang Prevention and Intervention.
"Photography gives kids like me a voice. When we show people what is happening through our photography, they can understand our perspective. We can tell people what's going on without being afraid."
- Kassandra, age 12
"Before the PhotoCity project, I used to think that bullying wasn't a big problem. Now I know that bullying occurs daily and most people ignore it.”
- Angel, age 13