Two unlikely groups connect, using media as a way to start the conversation

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DENVER —  Every Thursday in a classroom at South High School, high school students, University of Denver students and faculty come together to share ideas.

“The students from South have the opportunity to learn how to use media to make a difference in their community and the University of Denver students have the opportunity to work with a very diverse community that represents the future demographics of the Denver area and beyond,”  DU professor Lynn Schofield Clark said.

That kind of collaboration is what inspired their project called “South Students for Justice.” They wanted to use media to make a difference in the relationship between students of color and members of the law enforcement community.

“It was super interesting to talk to the kids and their perspectives on the police and we were trying to discuss how to communicate to police how we want to be treated as students or youth,” DU senior Mackenzie Dykes said.

What started was a dialogue between students and police. Then with the guidance of DU students and facility, South High School students interviewed Denver police and used social media, video and podcasts to share their results.

“The way they portrayed on the media it’s like all police are bad.  But getting to talk to them as really interesting,” said Richard Boating, a student at South High School.

The program allows DU students to teach high schoolers how to harness their voice on social media.

“It’s not necessarily how social media impacts.  It’s about the youth realizing you have a voice and that they can make a change,” South student Helena King said.

“It’s really wonderful to bring together a partnership like this.  And to see students who can thrive in developing new relationships and to invest themselves in the community in new ways,” Clark said.

As a result,  this program brings together two groups of people that might otherwise never have the chance to connect.

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