Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Sociology, MA

Committee Chair

Gast, Melanie

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Roelfs, Dave

Committee Member

Heberle, Lauren

Committee Member

Austin, D. Mark

Author's Keywords

Louisville, KY; sense of community; social justice youth development; redlining; walkability; parks


The author of this work would like to extend the humblest gratitude to all those who spoke and helped to create these listening sessions and those who guided me to write an original piece inspired by them. All comments, questions and solicitations are welcome to be directed to


I analyzed transcripts of listening sessions with youth/young adults of color in 2021-2022 for the purpose of addressing local racial inequity during COVID-19. I used inductive coding methods and found three themes on sense of exclusion to be most salient. These themes related to racial exclusion, exclusion of social infrastructures in the community, exclusion of young people of color by people working in schools and other public settings, and exclusion or disconnection of young people of color from opportunities for building community. I show how these themes vary across some dimensions of the local social infrastructure, and I discuss implications for developing more equitable policy solutions across local sites. This thesis concludes by presenting possible changes in local social infrastructure directly suggested and inspired by the suggestions of young people who participated in the study. This thesis adds to the many discussions of social infrastructure for this research context.