Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Rosa Jimenez

Second Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Third Advisor

Sarah Capitelli


This ethnographic case study explored the impact of community organizing on the literacy practices of elementary and middle school aged children and youth in a Bay Area intergenerational non-profit centered on education justice and equity. The participants in the study were part of a program that addressed the needs of children and youth aged four to fourteen. This study foregrounded collaborative critical literacy practices that promoted engagement with topics relevant to their lives. This study is informed by a belief in critical literacy and community organizing as tools to change the world. The children and the youth drew on a wide array of literacy practices and genres in their community organizing work such as researching pertinent topics then analyzing and synthesizing this material in order to teach a larger public in a workshop setting. Data was collected over a six-month period across various settings including weekly meetings, leadership days, and other events that arose (i.e., conference presentations and speaking at City Hall). The findings from the study showed that the CCAT children and youth developed and sustained transformative political discourse and activism through their literacy practices. Key findings were 1) community organizing with youth supported critical literacy and creative expression; 2) community organizing with youth supported critical literacy and facilitation skills; 3) community organizing fostered peer-to-peer teaching and learning; and 4) community organizing fostered collective leadership and civic engagement among the youth. This study makes the argument that for transformative social action to happen community organizing principles need to be harnessed to critical literacy skills. Within the community organizing space there is equality and equity of voice and participation. Leadership is built among community members in a non-hierarchical fashion and the younger children saw themselves as leaders within the collective. Through their work with CCAT the children and youth enacted tenets of citizenship as they wrote themselves into their civic lives. They are practicing for a future where their already powerful voices will be amplified.