This article is a compilation of online articles presented by Dr. Easely to the National Black Catholic Congress. She explores youth and gangs through an appreciative inquiry.
In the face of examining the role of Appreciative Inquiry as an intervention strategy that can help gang members transcend their existing state, a question the author asked was "What is there to appreciate about gangs?" To answer that question and understand the potential impact that Appreciative Inquiry could have on youth in gangs, mentally the author stripped away the veneer in order to see gang members for what they are, and she learned that when we strip away the publicized concept of the gang, the images we see in the media and movies and the descriptions we read about in the newspapers, the answer becomes very simple: they are youth. In many cases they may be youth each of us knows, or they could be our own children. Unfortunately, they are a critical part of our population that we are losing to the death tolls that result from gang violence. Therefore, if we are serious about stopping the gang violence, we have to look within the hearts of these young people and beyond the "hardness" that they attempt to project and help them to find their inner beauty, which is why the author found Appreciative Inquiry, as a change facilitator to be so critical. It sets the stage for us to move beyond the negativity in individuals, situations and/or organizations and look at what works and what is beautiful.