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Dangerous or Endangered?Race and the Politics of Youth in Urban America$
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Jennifer Tilton

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783115

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783115.001.0001

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Dangerous Times

Dangerous Times

Reconstructing Childhood in a Volunteer State

(p.69) 2 Dangerous Times
Dangerous or Endangered?

Jennifer Tilton

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the work of a racially and socioeconomically diverse group of parent activists in the Laurel district who volunteered their private time in hopes of expanding public investments that would extend middle-class structured and supervised time to all children in the neighborhood. It begins with a portrait of Liz and Robert Walker, a couple who both became deeply engaged in the local public schools and in trying to rebuild safe and nurturing spaces for young people in the neighborhood through their own volunteer labor and activism. It then provides a background on the collaboration between parents and neighbors in the Laurel district to expand public investments in after-school programs aimed at making schools and the neighborhood safe and secure for all kids. It also considers the efforts of Laurel activists to rebuild public landscapes of childhood as well as the dilemmas of activism in the context of “the volunteer state.” Finally, it examines the dilemmas of black middle-class parenting and their implications for Oakland politics.

Keywords:   parent activists, Laurel district, children, public schools, parents, after-school programs, childhood, activism, volunteer state, parenting

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