In this day and age where smartphones are attached to kids’ hips and a majority of conversations I overhear in my classroom are centered around Fortnite, it’s been refreshing to witness our youth take action on the issues that most impact their lives. Whether it’s organizing a silent walk to support the Parkland victims, tuning in to the net neutrality vote while at lunch, or interviewing staff about our transition to a magnet school, these students are realizing how powerful their voices can be.
We’ve always been told that adults know best, but while those same adults have become increasingly partisan and hateful towards each other, our students have taken matters into their own hands. Often dismissed by the media and policy makers, I can’t help but think that this year is different. Rallying around a collective perspective for change, student’s can start feeling like they are part of a solution, instead of being blamed for the problems.
Successful advocacy demands authenticity, and we can count on students to tell you exactly how they feel. By building long lasting, meaningful connections with the youth in our communities, we can bring our long-term visions closer to lasting change. We should move away from the perspective that every relationship is simply a transaction and realize the impact we can have if we invest our time & energy through advocating for and with our kids.
I would encourage every adult reading this to engage our youth in the tough conversations we are all having: What does school safety mean to you? Where exactly is our food coming from? What rights do all humans have? While their answers may not be the polished, articulate and neutral replies our elected officials are commonly known for, they represent how all kids want to feel–Real.
– David Savino, Kids on Course Roosevelt Site Manager