By Carolyn Reilly

Power is complicated; it’s a challenge to grasp the fullness of its meaning. In a first trimester main course I facilitated, 10 teens and I explored and learned the power of people and movements that create change in systems (the course was called, People Power: Resistance, Rebellions, and Revolutions). We worked together on defining power (which evolved throughout our class) as well as other terms connected to people power like: normalization, resistance, revolution, and rebellion. We learned about non-violent resistance movements and the discipline required of unified people, led by powerful and inspired leaders like Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We also researched and discovered many actions of peaceful civil disobedience from around the world; movements that grow as people stand up for justice and human rights. 

A culminating project was writing reflective essays on our studies with the lens of power along with creating a Zine that incorporated their essay. These essays are such a beautiful reflection of the unique perspective each learner holds. I am grateful to have learned alongside insightful, caring teenagers who are meeting their lives with great courage and capacity to take care of themselves and show up boldly in our world. 

One of the Zine Teams has agreed to share their Zine, “Hidden Sides of War.” 

We’d love to hear from you! How do you define power? What importance does power play in your life?

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