On Thursday, April 21st, I met with the students of Interagency Academy Alternative High School (at UDYC) for our second official Great Stories Club meeting (in March we discussed X: A Novel, but it wasn’t an official GSC title). We read and discussed Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins which was one of the titles chosen in the “Hack the Feed: Media, Resistance, Revolution” GSC theme.
Angie Malorni who is a self-described ” community organizer and never-ending student of social justice.” was our guest presenter. She started off the discussion with a quote from Angela Davis:
“But it has been absolutely inspiring to watch the development of young activists. And I have to catch myself when I say the, you know, “youth movements” and “black youth movements.” I have to catch myself and recognize that these are the movements of our time. They’re not youth movements per se, because youth have always led radical movements. But it’s very exciting to live during this era. And as I’ve pointed out many times, I think it must be extremely exciting to be young now. But it’s also exciting for those of us who are older to see this promise that has emerged in such powerful ways for the first time since perhaps the ’60s and the ’70s.”
It was a great way to get students thinking and talking about how they themselves are the ones starting and maintaining social justice movements. Angie also introduced them to local young adult activist groups that students could join, some even have a stipend attached. A few of the students planned to look into these opportunities.
The groups included:
* Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR)
* Tyree Scott Freedom School
* Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC)
* King County Youth Advisory Council
* Got Green
* REPSEA (Racial Equity Project Seattle)
For our book discussion, we tried to build on the content of March and X, as the themes of activism, resistance, and revolution tied all three of the books together. Angie led us in a thought-provoking conversation around the intersections of oppression. I hope our discussion inspired the students to think about race and social justice activism and the impact that they could have and may already be having.
We also covered symbols of activism and resistance with the Hunger Games such as the 3-fingers salute. Katniss describes the 3-finger salute as “an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love” (The Hunger Games, Book 1, pg. 24). At the reaping, Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place in the games, and the crowd refuses to clap. They show Katniss the 3-finger salute instead.
We talked about how after Rue’s death, Katniss covered her body in flowers to show respect and that she was “not just a pawn in their games.” I then showed the students the clip from the film where Katniss gave the 3-finger salute to the cameras, and the people of District 11 return the salute which sparked the uprising of District 11.