As you read the following, dream of how together we can be game changers.
The Youth Rights Day is premised on the view that youth rights advocates are not making more progress because they are too disconnected. It is a call to unite and nothing could be simpler than how it works. The idea is that we all become our own champions of change by asking our friends and neighbours:
“Have you heard of Youth Rights Day?”
To ask the question, is to raise awareness of youth rights. It creates an invitation to engage in developing, in oneself or in one’s community, a fuller appreciation of the benefits of respecting youth rights, and it is and invitation extended with the backing of the potentially formidable worldwide mass of people who believe in and respect human rights. That’s it! The Youth Rights Day simply provides those who believe in human rights with an opportunity to act on their beliefs. It gives them a conversation starter, and if we all use that same starter, we establish our solidarity and find more people who will be relieved to know we exit.
Following are examples of actions occurring in response to the Youth Rights Day call to unite. The first two will occur in advance of the day. The latter two provide examples of how the conversation starter can lead to activities on the day itself. All four examples show how organizations can use the Youth Rights Day to promote their work with no demands on their resources. Of note also is that any invitations to participate in activities related to Youth Rights Day are extended with the credibility of the entire worldwide youth rights advocates community behind them. It’s energizing.
For the purpose of helping us all to better imagine the possibilities and to publicize the many ways people are pursuing youth rights, please post in the Youth Rights Day Facebook group and other social media additional examples of how we can pull together from all different angles to create the show of unity needed if we are to reach the critical mass that paradigm shifts require.
Activities in Advance of Youth Rights Day
The first two examples below are of youth actions being performed in advance of Youth Rights Day. Example #2 shows how the day provides the opportunity to publicize and grow an organization.
A youth-led conference will be taking place on November 6-7th. It results from youth wanting to have an event in advance of Youth Rights Day and AERO offering its resources in support. Other organizations have since joined as partners to support the youth. Adult youth rights advocates have wished that more youth would attend their events. This conference presents an opportunity for adults to turn out for youth rights advocates as we see them supporting youth advocating for environmental justice with Fridays For Futures.
To support the November Youth Rights Day, the youth published Auteur Magazine team has dedicated its issue 7 topic to “Taking action on Youth Rights Day”. This announcement contains guidelines for youth wishing to contribute to the issue. If you know any family, peers, or friends who would be interested in submitting a piece to have their voice heard, please bring this opportunity to their attention. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the Auteur Magazine executive board, please check out this Google form.
Examples of Youth Rights Day Activities With Advance Invitations
One of the obstacles to creating a movement is that supporters can feel that they lack related expertise and are therefore reluctant to talk about it. These next examples are to encourage people to imagine how to take constructive action even if they know almost nothing about student rights. Experts who are working in youth rights will see that they can act similarly to draw attention to their projects and advocacy. Both examples involve extending invitations in advance to activities that would occur on Youth Rights Day, although such activities could occur anytime. Fridays for Future for example might dedicate its actions on Friday, November 19th, 2021 to all youth activists and their supporters worldwide who are working to amplify the voices of youth. Contained in these examples also are ideas for strengthening relations within communities.
At the Summerhill Festival of Childhood that took place this year to mark the 100th anniversary of its founding, the following five documentary films were presented.
– School Circles
– Killing Curiosity
– Most Likely to Succeed
– How Summerhill Works
This is how a conversation leading to an activity could be initiated by someone who knows virtually nothing about youth rights as they relate to education.
Kim: “Hi Erin, I’m wondering if you have heard anything about the Youth Rights Day.”
Erin: “No. What’s that about?”
Kim: “I don’t know much about it, but I would like to better understand what people are talking about when they talk about youth rights. I’m thinking of starting a documentary club, you know, like a book club. People would watch a documentary and then get together to discuss it. I saw a post that listed five films that were considered at some Summerhill Festival of Childhood. I watched their trailers and I was impressed by the wholesomeness and genuine nature of the people in them. I feel a need to better understand how they came to be the way they are. I’m thinking we could make the club fun by having meet and eat potlucks. Would you be interested if we can get some others to join us?”
As a way to further its work, Uniting for Children and Youth will be inviting people to form a club(s) in the Ottawa/Gatineau region of Canada. The plan is to meet five times to consider each of the documentaries listed above starting with School Circles which will expand the discussion to include children and youth since Youth Rights Day falls on the day the United Nations has established as World Children’s Day. If a group wishes to continue after the five meetings, these are some additional documentaries that they could consider:
– Schooling the World
– Class Dismissed
– Beyond Measure
– Race to Nowhere
Progressive education.org is the story of a parent who sent her boys to school because that is what parents do. Events transpired such that her boys became perceived as problems and in time, the mother, Jo Symes, began to think that maybe it was the school that was the problem. When she began to question with the help of the internet, she discovered that there was a whole other world about which parents knew little. This led to her creating her website and Facebook group to share what she found. She wishes to help parents to become more informed than she was when she sent her kids to school. In little more than two years since she established her Facebook group she has acquired well over 5000 members and they are not all parents. Among them are teachers.
To help with the process of getting information to parents and youth, a Youth Rights Day activity could be created by asking people to have a look at Jo’s website in advance of a meeting on November 20th to share views and discuss how they might influence their local schools to better address students’ needs. This would be a particularly good activity for parents in leadership roles on school councils to initiate. It could also serve as a community builder and include a pizza lunch or afternoon tea.