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About the JoY Lab

Justice-oriented Youth Education Lab

JoY Lab Team Photo 2023

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

Our Mission

The Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab strives to cultivate joy amongst our diverse community of scholars through our collective pursuit of justice in all its forms, particularly educational, racial, and social justice. Rooted in authentic relationships, we co-create youth and community-driven programs and critical participatory action research projects that interrogate systems of oppression while re(imagining) transformative ways of knowing and being together.

About the JoY Lab

The Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab was founded in 2019 by Dr. Ayana Allen-Handy in the School of Education at Drexel University. Our team of faculty, graduate, undergraduate, youth, and community researchers engage in research methods and critical civic praxis rooted in culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies, critical race theory, intersectionality, and social justice youth development, with the intent to advance justice in all of its’ forms, particularly education, social, and racial justice. Our project-based research approach includes Youth and Community-driven Participatory Action Research (YPAR/CPAR), what Dr. Julio Cammarota and Dr. Michelle Fine call a dynamic, co-constructed research process that is designed to interrogate and transform systems and institutions to produce greater distributive justice. The JoY Education Lab strives to democratize traditional research methods (which are often reserved for and sanctioned by the academy) by centering the lived experiences, cultural ways of knowing and being, and expertise of our youth and community researchers. Ultimately, we seek to cultivate joy amongst our diverse, intergenerational community of scholars in our collective pursuit of justice.