The Multicultural Literacy and Leadership Initiative (MLLI) seeks to establish a leadership development program targeting young people of color in an effort to develop and enhance multiracial literacy and leadership in communities where interracial conflict and discord create barriers to cross-cultural collaboration. Despite living in an increasingly diverse society, young people are rarely exposed to a sophisticated social history of American race relations. In Los Angeles specifically, illiteracy in this domain has caused racial tension to erupt into violent and sometimes murderous race-based assaults. This project will address the implications of such illiteracy by training young people in multicultural literacy and leadership workshops; and developing and then distributing a structural racism curriculum first in the Los Angeles area and then nation-wide.
Students will be recruited by consulting with a broad range of local stakeholders including teachers, administrators, civic leaders and community activists. Once selected they will be invited to participate in day-long training sessions on the UCLA campus, fully incorporating a structural racism lens into the heart of these trainings. To develop the youth-based curriculum, MLLI will consult teachers, youth specialists, educational psychologists and community leaders to help fashion informative, interactive and innovative activities, such as mock city council meetings and legislative sessions, and assignments that challenge young people to become problem-solvers and change agents in their local communities. In the end, this cohort of students will build their capacities to promote cross-racial understanding and collaborate to solve problems within their own communities.