Youth Leaders in Action (YLIA)
Funded by the Administration for Children and Families, Youth Leaders in Action (YLIA) started as community outreach initiative that set out to empower Atlanta youth in the area of violence prevention. Since 2007, this unique violence prevention/leadership summer program has reached nearly 100 youth (ages 13-19) from all over Metro-Atlanta and has continued on its mission to create a new standard of leaders and change agents in violence prevention.
Past YLIA participants have attended weekly summer-sessions at Morehouse School of Medicine, where they addressed a myriad of socially relevant issues surrounding violence. Teen participants worked to spread nonviolent messages by creating newsletters, a playlist of positive music, and an action plan to promote science-based programs with influential gatekeepers/decision-makers. This past summer, participants were introduced to the 16 BARZ’ musical concept which fused hip-hop with science-based educational methods. The thematic concept eventually resulted in the development of the 16 BARZ Curriculum Guide.
Positive Playlist Initiative (PPL)
Atlanta Violence Prevention Capacity Building Project (ACBP), decision-makers, and various members of the Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership (MAVPP) are promoting a positive violence prevention initiative. Various members of the regional Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership (MAVPP), including our youth, have expressed an interest in addressing the issue of violence in music. This is an issue that over 70 Atlanta partner individuals and organizations have raised in the past year as a widespread concern in the past year.
Grassroots stakeholder, ABCP executive directors and other community leaders reported desire to create a positive music playlist for local and eventually national distribution by various means such as a web page and through any other accessible media outlets. We challenge community leaders, average citizens, entertainers and others to support this campaign. In part, the purpose is to help to make popular positive music lyrics (especially rap, hip-hop, and rock) more available for our youth and more financially lucrative for enriching the lives of our youth.
Too many positive music artists complain that their positive lyrics tend to get little radio air time. The positive playlist (PPL) would be a means for parents, grandparents, administrators, teachers, principals and others who want to purchase positive music to do so by referring to the PPL. Youth could also use the PPL as a guide for downloading positive music from the internet.
A working definition of positive music is as follows:
Positive music contains lyrics that encourage healthy lifestyles, foster youth development, strengthen mental and physical health, and promote emotional growth of all people. It is not neutral in that it does not simply describe problems and problem situations. Instead positive lyrics propose practical solutions that prevent problems like interpersonal violence, the mistreatment of women, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS in the first place.
One purpose of this initiative is to expose more youth to popular music with life-changing, constructive messages and with the thought that the music industry will eventually follow suit. Given this charge, high school participants in Youth Leaders In Action, a special project of the ACBP, and other young adults recommended a musical contest for placement on the 2008 PPL. Participants in the campaign have no intention of demonizing artist who generate music that is not positive, and if an artist desires to join this affirmative campaign, the project stakeholders welcome their involvement. The partners recognize that harmful and violent music lyrics are one of many sources of violent and destructive influences intoday’s society. Nevertheless, the supporters of this initiative believe that promoting a PPL is a step in the right direction.