On January 10th 2012, the National Youth Rights Association hired their Summer Fellow Sarah McIntosh back on board as NYRA’s first Outreach Director. Sarah made it her personal mission that, by the end of 2012, a 17-year old somewhere in America will be the first citizen in the United States of America to legally cast a ballot in a local election. Maybe it will happen in Lowell, Massachusetts where young people have worked alongside their teachers, parents and policymakers to campaign for the voting age to be lowered to 17. Maybe it will happen in Hawaii where NYRA Chapter Leader Chace Shigemasa will be working alongside a state legislator to re-introduce legislation to lower the voting age to 16. Or maybe it will be your name up here, linking to your campaign in your community to lower the voting age. Regardless of where or how this change happens, one thing remains the same. Young people need to ask policymakers for permission to ASK their communities if they can have a basic civic right, a right given freely to so many other Americans. These same policymakers who make decisions about the internet, schools, and bullying without ever having to sit down and speak to a young person. We think that’s absurd, and you should too.
Make this a race. Become the youngest person on this page to legally cast a ballot. Become the youngest person on this page to be elected into public office. Start a conversation. Start talking to your neighbors about ways young people can work alongside the members of their community to change policy. Talk to your friends, talk to your teachers, talk to your police officers, engage your COMMUNITY. Then let us know what you are doing so we can tell the rest of the nation.
NYRA is launching a social media based campaign to mobilize young people for positive change in their communities. The basis of this campaign? The premise that young Americans are citizens, entitled to basic civic rights. The rights that form the very basis of citizenship in a democratic society. The right to vote. And the right to run for office.
We want to hear your voices.
Here’s how you can help:
Sign up for e-mail updates.
Fill out our survey and tell us what rights you want.
But most importantly, do the one thing we can’t do for you. Start a conversation in your community. Start a national dialogue that can re-shape the way this country talks about the relationship between youth and policymaking.
2012 is going to be a monumental year for the National Youth Rights Association. Work with us to create a brighter future for America’s youth.