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NYRA Freedom Volume 6, Issue 1

Written by NYRA Mar 29, 2011

NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Scott Davidson and Adam King

Volume 6, Issue 1

January 5, 2006

Contents:

Introduction
Paterson Chapter Fights Curfew
NYRA Receives Grant
Berkeley Chapter Continues Voting Age Effort
Blog Up and Running
Chapter News
Feature: Chances to Network With Politicians
Staff Changes and Requests
Chapter Formation Blurbs
Additional News Blurbs
Upcoming Events
News from the Web
Conclusion

Introduction

By Scott Davidson

2005 was a great year for the National Youth Rights Association. We have at last acquired some real office space, and we have begun to pay our Executive Director a full time salary. Chapters flourish throughout the country, and our influence continues to grow.

During the month of December, the Berkeley chapter held an extremely successful voting age debate, the Paterson chapter began a noteworthy fight against growing calls for a youth curfew, and the National Office received a significant grant. 2004 and 2005 were good years for our struggle, and I feel that 2006 will be even better.

Paterson Chapter Fights Curfew

By Scott Davidson

The Paterson City Council recently asked residents to vote on whether they would support a youth curfew ordinance. The Council did not present any details or any kind of plan, and the only relevant court case in New Jersey resulted in a ruling against curfews. Unfortunately, Paterson voters overwhelmingly supported the proposed curfew, forcing NYRA-Paterson to take action.

NYRA-Paterson’s president Fredrick Mutooni attended a City Council meeting, where he declared the curfew was “a political ploy for the mayor and three current Council members to be re-elected.” A lawyer for the city later informed Mutooni that the curfew was illegal, but many Paterson politicians refute this claim.

Mutooni has declared his candidacy for the Paterson City Council, and he must collect 609 signatures for his name to appear on the ballot. As of New Year’s Day, Mutooni had collected 165 signatures. He faces a difficult, uphill battle, but he is committed to the cause, and the truth is on his side. NYRA cannot formally endorse any political candidate, but it is clear that Mutooni feels passionately about youth rights, and his views are largely in line with NYRA’s platform.

Youth curfews, as the name indicates, are laws that make it illegal for young people to be outside of their homes during certain hours. Studies have shown that these authoritarian laws do not reduce crime. They fill jail cells with innocent people and divert the attention of law enforcement. Youth curfews tend to be enforced most often in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods. In 1996, Paterson voted in favor of a curfew but did nothing. Mutooni said, “There is no place to lock up thousands of youth.”

NYRA Receives Grant

By Scott Davidson

Chris Lydon, a NYRA member from New Jersey, applied for a grant through his employer, Time Warner. Lydon has done work for NYRA in the past by volunteering at Warped Tour events in New Jersey, and attending meetings in New York. Time Warner gave NYRA a grant in the amount of 1000 dollars, the single largest contribution the organization has ever received.

In the past, NYRA has operated on a meager annual budget of around 3000 dollars, and this grant comes as part of an effort to bring NYRA’s funding to the next level. NYRA expresses its deep and sincere gratitude to Lydon and Time Warner for this generous gift.

Berkeley Chapter Continues Voting Age Effort

By Scott Davidson

NYRA-Berkeley recently participated in a successful debate on whether 17-year-olds should be permitted to vote in Berkeley School Board elections. The debate, which took place on the campus of Berkeley High School, was sponsored by the Berkeley Youth Commission and attended by four classes of students.

Councilman Max Anderson spoke in favor of the youth suffrage proposal, citing the fact that 17-years-olds can drive and enlist in the military.

Councilman Gordon Wozniack attempted to refute Councilman Anderson’s arguments, arguing against the NYRA position. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates also attended the debate.

NYRA’s vice president Pamela Tatz and NYRA-Berkeley’s president Zach Hobesh also spoke on behalf of the proposal, while students from the Junior Statesman of America argued against NYRA’s voting age efforts.

The debate was moderated by Berkeley Youth Commission Chairman Rio Bauce, who is also the Chairman of NYRA-Berkeley. Bauce asked those present to sign a petition on behalf of the proposal. An article about the debate appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet. By all accounts, this debate was an overwhelming victory, and NYRA remains hopeful that NYRA-Berkeley will triumph in their struggle to lower the voting age.

NYRA-Berkeley’s Executive Committee will meet on Jan. 8. They will discuss a new fundraising plan and vote on platforms.

Blog Up and Running

By Scott Davidson

NYRA has created a blog, Age of Reason, which provides insightful commentary on the youth rights movement. The blog’s regular contributors include Alex Koroknay-Palicz, Jess Caralize, Katrina Moncure, Jason Kende, Adam King and Scott Davidson. There are already several posts at Age of Reason, including guest entries from Stefan Muller and Zach Hobesh. All NYRA members are encouraged to check out the Age of Reason at blog.youthrights.org. NYRA is also soliciting guest entries; so if any readers are interested, please post something.

Chapter News

By Scott Davidson

On Dec. 18, Keith Mandell held a chapter formation meeting. The meeting was well-attended, with representatives from many chapters reporting on their progress.

Destin Murphy, who is spearheading an effort to form a North Georgia chapter, announced that he had found twelve potential members, and would be sending in the charter fee shortly. Jacob A. Warner, also from Georgia, spoke about his plans to form a chapter near the metro division of Atlanta. Warner reported that the administration at his school was unconstitutionally attempting to thwart the efforts to form a chapter, and the National Office promised to see if they could help.

Taisha Santiago announced her plans to form a chapter in Miami, Fla. Santiago has expressed an interest in fighting Miami’s curfew.

If anyone lives in any of these areas and are interested in participating in a chapter, please email Adam King, NYRA’s South Regional Captain.

Jay Leff, the president of NYRA’s Vermont chapter, reported on the chapter’s recent activity. Leff noted that while the statewide chapter has been somewhat dormant, it has several active subchapters. Leff also mentioned that the chapter would be holding a Know Your Rights Day in the spring. In exciting news, the chapter secured a Senate sponsor for Assemblyman Marron’s drinking age bill. The Senate sponsor will be a Democrat, making the drinking age campaign in Vermont a bipartisan effort.

NYRA-Orange County remains extremely active. NYRA-OC president Natasha Hull-Ritcher reported that she has been trying to convince state legislators of the merits of a lower voting age. She said that an astounding twenty-five people attended the chapter’s last meeting.

Beth Bowman, the secretary of the newly-formed Monroe County chapter, in New York, announced that her chapter may begin to fight an ageist policy at a local movie theatre. NYRA-Monroe County will represent the greater Rochester region, an area where youth rights activists held a benefit concert for NYRA several months ago.

Feature: Chances to Network With Politicians

By Adam King

On Saturday, Dec. 10, I had the opportunity to attend an event held by my US Rep. Charles Taylor (R-Brevard, N.C.).

As part of a Student Council activity with my school, I was invited to help at Taylor’s annual dinner party. At the dinner party, I introduced myself to Taylor and Sen. George Allen (V.A.). Allen is the former governor of Virginia, and it is rumored that he is a prospective presidential candidate for the 2008 election.

At the party, many local dignitaries and politicians attended. Although I did not have the chance to discuss youth rights with any politician, I was able to network.

At my dinner table, there were two meterologists working for a federal climatic data center in Asheville, N.C. I was able to have an interesting and intelligent conversation with both of them about youth rights. They were polite and seemed sincerely interested in what I had to say, whether they truly were or not.

As politicians and other officials begin to hold these types of dinners to fundraise for the coming election year, I urge everyone to attend these events. Attending these events will allow you to network with “important” people. When you talk with them, if you get the chance, be sure to bring up youth rights.

Before you attend, I recommend that you read up on the talking points on the main website. You might also want to dress professionally and have business cards on hand.

Staff Changes and Requests

By Adam King

NYRA is seeking to hire regional captains for chapter formation in the northeast, midwest and central regions. If you are interested, fill out an application here: http://www.youthrights.org/chapterformation.php or contact Adam King.

NYRA is requesting all members with website design and programming skills to apply for the development team. A lot of experience is not necessary, but it would be greatly appreciated. To apply, go here: http://www.youthrights.org/devapp.php.

Svend la Rose, Kelvin Oliver and Paula Gabriele are no longer working for NYRA. The Research and Education division has been closed.

Chapter Formation Blurbs

By Adam King

NYRA has developed chapter formation evaluations for forming chapters. All chapter intents are encouraged to fill out an evaluation for their region. The evaluations should only take about 5 minutes. Go to http://www.youthrights.org/[region]evaluation.php. Replace [region] with the name of your region: northeast, south, midwest, west or central.

NYRA is seeking to hire regional captains for the northeast, central and midwest regions. It is important that these positions be filled. If you have been waiting to volunteer for NYRA, now is the time to do it. Regional captains are responsible for forming chapters within his or her region. If you are interested, fill out an application here: http://www.youthrights.org/chapterformation.php or contact Adam King.

Additional News Blurbs

By Adam King

The total number of registered supporters surpassed 6000 in early December 2005.

NYRA has set up a tracking map powered by Google. This online utility will be used to pinpoint the disbursement of members and youth rights supporters world-wide. Go to http://www.frappr.com/nyra/ to check it out and register.

NYRA has bought an online Flash chatroom to replace the informal chats previously held on AIM. It is recommended that you download Flash Player 8 or later for the chat to function properly. The chatroom is located off of the forums at: http://www.youthrights.org/forums/chat/. You need to have a forum login account to sign in.

The modern Youth Rights Movement turns 10 years old this year. The founding of ASFAR in 1996 can logically be considered the first modern organization to fight for youth rights. NYRA will turn 8-years-old this year.

Upcoming Events

January 17, 2006, 8 p.m. EST – Youth Rights Chat

January 22, 2006, 7:30 p.m. EST – Board Meeting

TBA, Online Chapters’ Meeting

All are held in the new NYRA chatroom; access it here: http://www.youthrights.org/forums/chat/

News From the Web

Student Suspended for Speaking Spanish
http://www.youthrights.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6024

Judge Finds Right Not To Have Parents Told You’re Gay
http://www.youthrights.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5868

Shopkeeper Drives Away Teens Like a Garden Pest
http://www.youthrights.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5725

Camera in School Bathroom
http://www.youthrights.org/forums/showthread.php?p=121609#post121609

NYRA Berkeley Voting Age Debate
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=12-16-05&storyID=22960

Conclusion

By Adam King

The National Youth Rights Association has entered the year 2006 with an unusual, but successful beginning. With the organization’s first grant, it brings hope of future prosperity and good fortune for the year. With NYRA’s new technological advances, more of NYRA’s functions are becoming more integrated. I urge you to start the new year off right, too. You should help out the youth rights movement in any way you can, such as donating money, volunteering your time or starting a chapter. Become involved today to guarantee that NYRA will have even a better year than 2005.

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