So-Called “Youth Issues”

The myth of so-called “youth issues” is pervasive throughout our communities, as young people are routinely segregated from adults throughout society, including mainstream decision-making, problem-solving and policy choices. There has been a frequent temptation to pigeonhole children and youth by focusing on schools, children’s healthcare, youth homelessness, child labor, afterschool programs, social work, nutrition, and other issues addressing children and youth specifically.

Luckily, young people won’t have any part of this. Children and youth activists aren’t be fooled anymore by adults’ frequent insistence that they need to focus on what we think they should. Instead, they are addressing hundreds of inconvenient truths facing our world today in immeasureable ways. And historians like Phillip House have shown us that there is a precident of youth activists doing this throughout American history.
Today I found some hope from Barack Obama’s transition team. In recent conversations the national youth lobbying community succeeded in demonstrating the wide range of issues that are important to young people. While the transition team member in the video reduced their concerns to “having a seat at the table,” having this step forward is further than anyone has got before. That along is cause for celebration.
  • Oh, and thanks to Dana Welsh and Jonah Wittkamper for informing this post.

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