It almost sounds like the name of an organization – Adults Advocating for Youth Voice, or AAYV. As a 32-year-old who has been involved in both “sides” of advocating for youth voice – both as a youth and as an adult – I am particularly aware of the tension involved therein. I’ve written in this blog quite a bit about that tension. So I’m sensitive to charges of inauthenticity, particularly when they’re lobbed by other adults.
Last week I was in a meeting where an adult went on a tangent about youth leading their own movement, and adults standing aside to let young people through. I raised an objection about the disingenuous nature of that argument, primarily because we live in an adultcentric society where young people do not have grassroots access to the skills and knowledge they need to change the adult-driven systems that affect them most.
This person turned on me and launched into the problem of me and “people like you”. According to them, my “hogging” the spotlight without “making room” for youth to lead “almost singlehandedly keeps the youth of our state” from being effect change makers. It sucks hearing that kind of accusation from anyone, particularly someone when I admire their work.
So today I’m taking stock and making choices. I’ve been working with a small legion of people over the last year to grow out CommonAction and make some vital choices about the future, but now I’ve got something else to consider. Always with the changes, this work comes…