NYRA Freedom Volume 10, Issue 9

Written by Alex Koroknay-Palicz Sep 21, 2010

== NYRA Freedom ==

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 10, Issue 9
September 15, 2010

Editors: Julian Gutierrez, Jackie Ferro, Emily Sanders

Publisher: David Moss

== Contents ==

– The Mosquito’s Sting
– Election Day Events Across the Country
– What’s Your Ah-Ha Moment?
– Thanks West Palm Beach Police Department!
– National Youth Listening Tour
– NYRA is Expanding on Campus
– NYRA is looking for Fall Interns
– Calendar
– Blog
– News

== The Mosquito’s Sting ==

Washington, D.C. – We have once again seen a petty attempt to harass young people manifest itself in the form of a recent installation of the infamous “Mosquito” device at a public location. The Mosquito is a high-frequency sonic emitter that causes irritation and pain to younger listeners, who typically have a more heightened sense of hearing than their elders. Aside from the usual offense and insensitivity of installing a device that will not discriminate between good and bad youths, and is favored on the presumption that youths are the exclusive perpetrators of crime, this latest installation is particularly ridiculous because it is located outside the Chinatown entrance to the Gallery Place Metro station, placed there in response to complaints by Gallery Place business owners. As a result, young people, already disproportionate users of public transportation, are now forced to endure annoying high-pitched noise when attempting to enter one of the city’s busiest metro stations. NYRA and NYRA-DC are dismayed by this action, and will fight to overturn it.

== Election Day Events Across the Country ==

On November 2nd, the 2010 election will be occurring across the nation. The only people voting will be Americans 18 and older. For citizens eligible to vote, election day is a reminder of the triumph of democracy and positive reinforcement of their rights. But for many of America’s youth and supporters of NYRA, election day is a strong reminder of the rights they are denied as American citizens.

Some chapters, such as NYRA-Nanuet, are in the process of planning events at their polling place to emphasize NYRA’s effort to lower the voting age. Other chapters will be holding similar events around the country to stand up for youth rights.

Any and all NYRA members can help. You can plan a rally or similar event on election day or work to inform your classmates, co-workers and friends about the concept of youth rights. Anyone can help us take a step towards a lower voting age and we’ll only get there one step at a time. As a supporter of youth rights, all NYRA members should make November 2nd a day to promote a lower voting age. By encouraging action in your community, you can help take NYRA even further in our efforts to protect and defend youth rights.

Also on November 2, oral arguments in the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case will be heard at the US Supreme Court. This case will determine whether young people have a Constitutional right to play violent video games and could have far reaching consequences. NYRA is planning a rally in front of the Supreme Court to highlight the intersection of free speech rights and voting rights. NYRA members in the DC area interested in participating are strongly encouraged to get in touch with the national office by e-mailing nyra at

== What’s Your Ah-Ha Moment? ==

NYRA staff receive e-mails all the time from people discovering the movement for the first time. Everyone seems to have very similar reactions, “Wow! I’ve supported youth rights for years, but thought I was the only one!” or “Something always seemed a bit off about how youth were treated, but I never thought of it much till I read your site, my eyes were totally opened!”

One way or another, everyone who supports the cause seems to have a story to tell about how they first got involved, or first realized the importance of this issue. At NYRA’s Annual Meeting, several board members sat around at a DC pizza joint sharing stories of our own Youth Rights Ah-Ha Moments. Go here to hear our stories and experiences:

We want to hear yours! Please make a video of yourself telling the story of when you first discovered the youth rights movement, or when you first realized that young people were systematically discriminated against. Upload the video to YouTube and call it [Your Name]’s Youth Rights Ah-Ha Moment, then send us the link! E-mail us at: nyra at

== Thanks West Palm Beach Police Department! ==

NYRA-SEFL’s State lawsuit against West Palm Beach’s discriminatory curfew law turned a potential bad development into a good one last week. Since plaintiff Jeffrey Nadel had never actually been arrested or warned for violating the curfew his standing for the lawsuit was in question. Feeling that giving up was not an option, he and fellow NYRA-SEFL members walked straight into City Place in the dead of night. It didn’t take long before security officers and police stopped them and gave them written warnings for being young. The warnings were accompanied by sneers, snide remarks, and second-hand smoke. Now that Nadel has been directly impacted by the West Palm Beach curfew law, proving that NYRA-SEFL has standing should be no problem. NYRA wishes to take this opportunity to thank security guards at City Place as well as Sargeant Frank DiStefano of the West Palm Beach Police Department for helping us overturn this discriminatory law. We couldn’t have done it without you!

== National “Youth Voices” Listening Tour ==

This year, the U.S. Department of Education is taking a step in the right direction by starting a National Youth Listening. The project is run by NYRA ally and’s Director of Community Outreach Alberto Retana. The purpose of the tour is to get feedback from community partners and, in particular, students. This is a great opportunity for NYRA members to share their thoughts about public school directly with a sympathetic ear at the Department of Education. Please let us know (by e-mailing or calling 202-296-2992 ext. 131) if you’d like to attend any of the stops on the Tour and share your opinions with the Department. All NYRA members are welcome and encouraged to do so.

National “Youth Voices” Listening Tour Stops

Boston, MA
September 21, 2010
Harriet Tubman House
566 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02118

Los Angeles, CA
October 7, 2010
Location: TBD

Seattle, WA
October 12, 2010
Location: TBD

Oakland, CA
October 19, 2010
Location: TBD

Newark, NJ
November 6, 2010
10:00am -2:00pm
Rutgers University
Paul Robeson Campus Center
350 Martin Luther King Blvd
Newark, NJ 07102

= NYRA is Expanding on Campus ==

NYRA is pleased to welcome NYRA-AU (American University) to our family of chapters. NYRA and American University have a long history. Our first chapter was formed there by current Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz when he was a student. It has come and gone several times over the last few years. The current iteration of NYRA-AU is being run by American University first year student and NYRA member Dakota David. Dakota was familiar with the organization while in high school, and this summer when she visited our table at a Vans Warped Tour stop in Maryland she renewed her support for the cause. NYRA is also looking to expand to New York University, the effort to start a chapter at NYU is being led by Usiel Phoenix who serves on the board of directors for NYRA. Having campus based chapters in two of the world’s most influential cities is a great development for NYRA. We look forward to great things from both groups.

== NYRA is looking for Fall Interns ==

Interns are a crucial part of the work done at NYRA’s national office. We rely on our interns to promptly complete important research projects, compile accurate and detailed lists and reports, direct media projects, manage outreach to new members and chapters and to help with administrative work. In keeping with our mission, we expect all of our interns, regardless of their age or education level, to perform responsibly at a highly mature and professional level.

-Manage Projects for the improvement and expansion of the organization
-Assist with fundraising
-Outreach to high schools and colleges to find new members and chapter leaders
– Strengthen leadership and organizing skills, learn how non-profit organizations and grassroots advocacy campaigns work

Applicants must have excellent verbal and written communications skills, and strong online research skills. The ability to work efficiently and independently is important. Enthusiasm for youth rights and commitment to lowering the voting and drinking ages is a must. Candidates should be computer savvy and comfortable on the phone. Experience organizing school clubs or chapters and working with volunteers preferred. This internship is perfect for motivated individuals able to take on responsibility who want substantive duties that will provide real job experience.

Application instructions:

Please submit cover letter, resume and a writing sample of your choice to dmoss at

== Calendar ==

Board Meeting – TBA
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM

September 16 – #16toVote on the 16th
All Day – Tweet about the voting age and include the hashtag #16toVote

September 21 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

== Blog ==

EMA Brief Released in Schwarzenegger Video Game Case

Adult Supporters and Privilege

== News ==

===NYRA Related===

Sin Respeto por el toque de queda

===Other News===

Georgia Congressman Wants Drinking Age Lowered on Military Posts

Support Strong to Lower Drinking Age for Military

Old Enough to Fight but Not Drink?

Baby slapping aboard Southwest Flight sets off Debate

Mosquito Device at Gallery Place aims to annoy potential troublemakers

Facebook Suit: Teens Too Young to “Like”

Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young

Older People Like Reading Negative Stories About Youth

Enforceable curfew needed for Binghamton residents say

State to Pursue Child Porn Charges Against Teen Accused of Sexting

I <3 Boobies Bracelet Leads to Suspensions




Avi Hein – 20th Anniversary Reflection

Growing up outside of Washington, DC, politics is life. But, as a 15 year old, volunteering isn’t the same as voting. It was the second half...

BY Avi Hein

Alex Jonlin – 20th Anniversary Reflection

As a ten-year-old kid in Seattle, I was already interested in politics. My friends and I marched around the playground protesting the Iraq War, and I...

BY Alex Jonlin

Scott Davidson – 20th Anniversary Reflection

Former board member (2003-2007) and president, Scott Davidson reflects on his time with NYRA and the people he got to know during his time being active...

BY Scott Davidson

Jackie Ferro – 20th Anniversary Reflection

I first got involved with NYRA in 2009, when I was in 8th grade. I had formed a small coalition with some fellow middle schoolers called...

BY Jackie Ferro

NYRA-Fairfax Secures Voting Age Endorsements

Thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Fairfax County NYRA chapter, the Fairfax County Democratic Party and grassroots organizations Virginia Democracy Forward and Virginia Civic...

BY Brian Conner

NYRA Mourns Passing of John Taylor Gatto

Renowned critic of compulsory schooling, John Taylor Gatto passed away this week at the age of 82.  A teacher for 30 years, he achieved notoriety after...

BY Alex Koroknay-Palicz

Stefan Muller – 20th Anniversary Reflection

I joined NYRA in 2003 after reading about it in a news article about the voting age. This wasn’t my first introduction to youth rights—I’ve believed...

BY Stefan Muller

NYRA Launches New Website!

After months of hard work by NYRA's team of volunteers, we are pleased to finally unveil our brand new look! With a new logo, a new...


Bill introduced in U.S. House to lower the voting age to sixteen

Last week, U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced a resolution proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would lower the voting age to sixteen throughout...

View More

Support the New!

NYRA's current website was redesigned in 2011 and while it looked great for the time, it is now dated in both style and function. The current...


Portland Student Rights Union joins NYRA to address Student Rights

Members of Portland Student Rights Union - A NYRA Chapter We originally started the Portland Student Rights Union (SRU) in October 2017 to protest the administration...

BY Portland Student Rights Union

Scott Davidson – 20th Anniversary Reflection

Former board member (2003-2007) and president, Scott Davidson reflects on his time with NYRA and the people he got to know during his time being active...

BY Scott Davidson

Schwarzenegger v Gamers – Help Us Fight Back

Arnold is trying to take away your games. Don't let him. California passed a law that would ban the sale of all "violent" video games to...

BY Alex Koroknay-Palicz

Activists in Massachusetts Make Progress in Lowering the Voting Age

In Massachusetts, two best friends made headway in the push to lower the voting age. Aaron Nelson and Max Carr passed articles in their hometowns of...


Over 70 people testify in favor of lowering the voting age in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, NYRA members attended a public hearing before the Washington, D.C. City Council to support the Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2018. If passed, this...


Alex Jonlin – 20th Anniversary Reflection

As a ten-year-old kid in Seattle, I was already interested in politics. My friends and I marched around the playground protesting the Iraq War, and I...

BY Alex Jonlin

Speaking out against curfew laws in Fort Worth, TX

NYRA Chapter leader Bryce Hall spoke out against extending the juvenile curfew law in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas last Tuesday. He and other...


Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, And Drags When You’re Young

When I talk to people about lowering the voting age to 16 or lowering the drinking age to 18 they often say “Why the rush? Two...

BY Alex Koroknay-Palicz
View More