Youth Rights Day Panel
The Generation We Have Been Waiting For
AERO Conference Presentation
June 24, 2021
Top row: Yumna Hussen, Kyrstin Dumont, Mahi Thakur
Bottom row: Zineb Mouhyi, Richard Fransham
Youth Rights Day Conceptual Framework
- “We are the generation we have been waiting for.” It is in essence not about youth, but rather about the kind of leadership we need to put the world on a better course.
- A meeting place: A reason youth activists and their adult supporters have not been more successful achieving their goals is that they have remained too disconnected. The Youth Rights Day is a call to unite and to create a grand show of solidarity that tells the world we are not fringe groups – we are the way of the future. It is conceived as a meeting place for people to come out of their silos, to get to know their allies and to discover how they can support each other.
- There is no downside. Imagine how to use the Youth Rights Day to add legitimacy to people on the fringes and how it creates a stage for them to acquire attention and support for their causes. Think in terms of working smarter, not harder.
- The rights of youth: The Youth Rights Day focuses on human rights, environmental rights, and the right to self-determination within the context of community. Education is at the heart of it all. Carol Black’s Schooling the World message is foundational: If you want to change a culture, you have to change how you educate its children. Abraham Lincoln expressed the same view saying: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Imagine if young activists could receive school credits while pursuing what is important to them, instead of being sidelined by what they see as irrelevant curriculum.
- A new world view of young people: The Youth Rights Day has the goal of changing the attitude that young people are “made to be seen and not heard”, that they are too inexperienced and irresponsible to be taken seriously. This is bring done by bringing young activists to the fore and flooding the world with images of the wellbeing young people radiate when they are not oppressed. Discriminating against young people on the basis of their age sows the seeds of all kinds of discrimination and ignores that without their input the world goes off course.
- Youth-led/adult-supported: The Youth Rights Day is to be youth-led/adult-supported. Defining what this means is a goal of this initiative. Hart’s Ladder of Participation helps to visualize what it involves. Charles Orgbon III’s use of Hart’s Ladder in this article is worth consideration: https://blueskyfundersforum.org/connect/blog/how-philanthropy-can-support-youth-grown-environmental-solutions.
How to Participate
- Spread the word. Talk it up with everyone you know.
- Think in terms of Earth Day and neighbours reminding neighbours to turn off their lights. Think of neighbours asking neighbours, “What are you planning for Youth Rights Day? Would you like to get some people together?”
- Join and follow the Youth Rights Day social media. Register for updates. Post items on social media, create and share posters and articles to help people imagine the possibilities and the power of coming together.
- Volunteer! When you register for updates indicate that you can give some time to making the day a resounding success.
- Keep doing what you are doing, but take advantage of the Youth Rights Day to do it better. Remind yourself: work smarter, not harder.