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StateImpact wants to hear from Oklahoma youth

Classrooms in Oklahoma, like much of the country, have become a political battleground for social issues being debated in the state legislature.

At this moment of social and racial reckoning, we want to hear from you.

StateImpact and our collaborators with Focus: Black Oklahoma and KOSU will spend time in deep listening sessions with BIPOC and marginalized teenagers and the people in their lives.

We want to know how you are navigating this complicated world. These very public debates are among adults, but affect youth.

What do your conversations sound like when talking about the controversial Julius Jones death penalty case or race in the classroom? What are the impacts of these parallel but very different conversations? Do they affect the way students behave and how you might act in the future, such as how you perfect an application for a scholarship?

We plan to capture conversations, creating a time capsule and sharing your concerns with a wider audience, which will hopefully create a richer debate surrounding these issues. It is incredibly important to have these audio stories driven by the thoughts of Oklahoma youth, who have communicated to StateImpact that they don’t feel like their voices really matter to lawmakers.

Oklahoma is a deeply conservative state politically, but the demographics are rapidly changing. The 2020 Census revealed Tulsa is a majority-minority city for the first time since Oklahoma was Indian Territory, and 21% of the state’s population now identifies as Latino.

We want to empower these young students to tell their own stories. The goal is that this will be the precursor to a podcast incubation lab or youth voices program for students.

Students, you may not be able to give a speech on the Oklahoma Senate floor, but we want to help your voices be heard in these increasingly difficult debates.

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Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
Kateleigh Mills is the Special Projects reporter for KOSU.