In the drizzling rain, I yank up the military recruitment sign and throw it into the tall grasses on the side of the road. If anyone asks, I didn’t “destroy” government property. I merely relocated it. Think of me like a windstorm. A peace-loving, nonviolent windstorm countering military recruitment. Who knows how many lives I saved with this simple action? Perhaps it saved the teens that were considering enlisting as they rode the school bus past these signs twice a day. Perhaps it will help some innocent civilians overseas who so often bear the brunt of our nation’s addiction to war. Maybe it will slow down the profiteering warmongering of military industrial complex to realize they can’t count on enlistment rates. The military recruitment sign was one of two shoved into the sides of the main road in my rural community.
Cuba held elections for its organs of local government, the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, on November 27. A delegation of youth from the United States observed the vote first-hand as part of the US-Cuba Youth Friendship Meeting. Coming from the fundamentally undemocratic US Empire, it was the first time that many participants saw a functional electoral system in which the masses actually participate, and in which the majority truly rules. We observed voting in La Corbata, a neighborhood in La Habana currently undergoing transformation. The polling site was inside a newly constructed cultural-technological center, which also houses arts programs, classes, a computer lab, school graduations, and community events. At first arrival, we were surprised by how efficiently the voting process moved.
It's fun, it's green and it's becoming more popular by the day. Barcelona's bike bus, or "bicibus", as the scheme is known locally, allows hundreds of children to cycle safely to school in a convoy, taking over entire streets in Spain's second largest city. The citizen-led project, supported by Barcelona City Council, began in March 2021 with one route in the Sarria neighbourhood. It now has 15 routes and has inspired similar schemes in the Scottish city of Glasgow and in Portland in the United States. Eight-year-old Lena Xirinacs joins the Eixemple route every Friday with her father, who is one of the volunteers ensuring that the children are safe on the road. "She wakes up with joy. I could use it as an excuse every day so that she jumps out of bed," Pablo Xirinacs said.
The Berks County Residential Center, a facility that has been the subject of much scrutiny and protests over its previous housing of migrant children and now migrant women, will be shutting down, according to an announcement from Berks County Officials issued on Wednesday, Nov. 30. County officials were informed by the federal government that it will be ending its contract on Jan. 31, 2023. The public relations officer for the county, Stephanie Weaver, issued a statement that management and staff had been made aware of the government’s decision to shut down the center. It was not specified if employees would lose their jobs or not. According to Weaver, they employ 60 people. Federal government officials have not responded to questions about the decision to close the facility.
Young Americans appear highly skeptical of Washington’s ability to improve the world through military force, according to a new poll from the Eurasia Group Foundation (EGF). A majority of respondents aged 18 to 29 told pollsters that the United States should cut its military budget, end arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia, and emphasize diplomacy over other tools when engaging with the world. Zuri Linetsky, a research fellow at EGF, argued that youth respondents have likely been formed by the failures of recent U.S. military policies. “If you are 29 right now, you came of voting age towards the end of the Obama years,” Linetsky said. “You saw the Iraq surge. […] You’ve seen pushes in Afghanistan that haven’t worked. You’ve just seen the limits of American power.”
Though originally designed to neutralize the potency of May Day, Labor Day in 2022 comes at an inflection point for US workers in general and for younger US workers in particular. Amid an upswell in union enthusiasm and increased attention to union organizing in the popular press, the trajectory of the labor movement going forward has especially significant ramifications for adult workers under the age of 35. These younger workers have now endured multiple economic shocks during formative stages in their lives. Unions have the potential to both mitigate some of the damage done by recent economic crises and to provide a mechanism for building worker power to create lasting structural change.
The most popular proposal is to give everyone 16 and up the right to vote. In the United States, 16-year-olds are working full-time, paying taxes and driving, so why not voting? And most live with their families, which may be a better time for them to cast their first vote — rather than when they’re in the midst of major life transitions a few years later. In countries like Scotland and Austria, where 16- and 17-year-olds can vote in some or all elections, the teens vote at higher rates than their slightly older cohorts — and research shows voters who begin earlier stick with the habit. Civically engaged teenagers at home might even boost the participation of parents and other family members. Enfranchising more young people could also combat what writer Astra Taylor has termed the “gerontocracy”: a generational cohort making long-term policy they won’t be around to deal with.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion calling gender-affirming care for trans young people “child abuse.” The state’s governor, Greg Abbott, doubled down, directing the Texas Department of Family and Planning Services to investigate parents who support their trans children in accessing care as child abusers. Abbott also suggested that teachers, doctors, nurses—anyone, really—could face criminal penalties if they don’t report parents and providers who support trans kids. It’s frustrating to read media accounts that say “LGBTQ advocates” disagreed with or were concerned about this event, because, actually, pretty much every relevant medical and legal authority weighed in immediately to say not only do those statements not reflect the legal understanding of child abuse, but they fly in the face of the fact that support for gender-affirming medical procedures comes from, for instance, the American Medical Association, which states that not only is gender-affirming care appropriate, but that the absence of it leads to poor mental health outcomes.
Donna Scott Davenport, the juvenile court judge at the center of a controversy over the arrest and detention of children in Rutherford County, Tennessee, has announced that she will step down this year rather than run for reelection. Earlier on Tuesday, ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio published a story about a move by some Tennessee lawmakers to remove Davenport from her post. About an hour after that story was published on ProPublica’s website, Davenport, in an email sent by the county’s spokesperson, announced that she will not be running for reelection this year. Instead, she plans to retire when her current eight-year term expires this summer. Davenport, in announcing her retirement, said: “After prayerful thought and talking with my family, I have decided not to run for re-election after serving more than twenty-two years on the bench.
Seventy-six years after the U.S. dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I am reminded of my own mindset during the Cuban missile crisis when American President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev were threatening a nuclear confrontation. I remember feeling that my life would soon end, clearly embracing a comprehensible existential threat even at the age of 7. I now understand the weapons of mass destruction deployed against the Japanese in 1945 as the two most horrible “singular event war crimes” ever committed by a state actor. Coming from and living in the most militarized culture of scale in history, I work to promote non-military careers for youth most susceptible to military recruitment offers.
Children as young as 10 are afraid the Covid-19 pandemic will set them back for the rest of their lives, a new study from the Co-op Group reveals. The report, the Ghosted Generation, is one of the largest post-pandemic studies of its kind, asking more than 5,000 10-25-year olds about their attitudes, life chances and aspirations. It finds that almost two thirds (60%) 13-25-year olds feel their generation will be permanently disadvantaged by the pandemic, starting with a devastating impact on their education. The Group is urging more support for young people as the UK emerges from the pandemic, and says it is making its own efforts to develop opportunities, through apprenticeships, virtual work experience and its Young Members Board. Among school-aged children, the research shows nearly 47% of 10-15-year olds feel they have fallen behind in the past year, with 59% also feeling the pressure to catch up quickly.
As a nation, we stand with bated breath — waiting for public schools to reopen and for “a return to normal” while ignoring that for many, normal is not only not good enough, it was also never really good. Historical inequities and disparities in our public schools, as across all our public systems, operate along a constitutional fault line — an embedded caste system — that we need to find our way across. It is a fault line that is not only about race: class, identity and disabilities also block the path to equal educational opportunity for millions of students. Just like the right to vote in the 20th century, the lack of equal access to a quality education in the 21st century threatens to limit the future life choices for too many young people.
At a school in North Minneapolis, the school day starts with a team of four peacekeepers escorting teachers and staff into the building. Then the team watches out for the students as they get off the bus and enter the schoolyard. Throughout the day, they’re on hand to de-escalate fights and aid the students in conflict resolution. They’re not volunteers. This is their job. They have replaced police (resource officers) in this school. This is not a fairy tale or a utopia story. Two blocks away is a hub of drug dealing. Gun violence is frequent in this neighborhood. These four peacekeepers are part of EMERGE, a program which provides internships, jobs and mentorship for youth who live amidst a cycle of violence, trauma, gangs and/or the justice system.
Portland, OR – On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown signed legislation into law prohibiting law enforcement officers from using deception while interrogating people under the age of 18. The law bans commonly used deceptive interrogation tactics, including false promises of leniency and false claims about the existence of incriminating evidence. Both of these tactics have long been identified as significantly increasing the risk of false confessions, which have played a role in about 30% of all wrongful convictions overturned by DNA. False confessions are also the most frequent contributing factor in wrongful conviction cases involving homicides. And recent studies suggest that children under 18 are between two and three times more likely to falsely confess than adults.
In late May, a crowd descended on Central Baltimore’s 6,000 square foot Ynot Lot for a day of free food and entertainment. Local artists like the contagiously candid Lor Choc, the sharp-rapping Fmb Foreign, and decorated Baltimore Club DJ Scottie B took the lot’s stage. Onlookers danced in their respective circles, many holding cloudy, ice cold bottles of water to contend with the sweltering sun. Others occupied shady spots to permanently plop down in. Just outside the Ynot were mobile stations providing confidential STI/HIV testing, as well as COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer. By all accounts, the star that day wasn’t the artists onstage, but the person who facilitated the event: Iya Dammons, founder of Baltimore Safe Haven (BSH), whose leadership was clear from the outset.