NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 8, Issue 10
November 18, 2008
Editors: Lexi Johnson and Justin Graham

Table of Contents

-Youth Make Themselves Heard on the Voting Age
-NYRA Voice at First Drinking Age Debate
-NYRA Launches Youth Vote Video Project
-First Youth Rights TV Ad a Success
-Student Rights Union a Force for Youth at Indiana School
-Blog Explores Youth Rights Issues
-Recent NYRA Blog Entries
-News from the Web


This past month has been a great month for NYRA. Two chapters staged successful voting age protests on Election Day, expressing loud and clear that youth deserve the right to vote now; we have an impressive new affiliate in Indiana that might open a new hub for youth rights activism; NYRA participated in debate over lowering the drinking age; and a promising new project has just been launched, offering the opportunity to give voice to the views of youth throughout the country. The month ahead promises to be just as eventful. As always, don’t forget to get the word out about NYRA and youth rights. The Thanksgiving holiday would be a excellent time to discuss youth rights with your family and friends!

Youth Make Themselves Heard on the Voting Age

With the national election barely a week past, young people and youth activists are speaking out across the country on the need to lower the voting age. On Election Day, youth in several cities rallied for youth suffrage. Active young people made waves in New York City, rallying on the steps of City Hall for increased youth civic participation and youth voting. NYRA Director Jason Kende of the New York City chapter says that not only did the City Hall rally draw a decent turnout, but they also got some great video of pro-youth speeches and interviews that they will be able to use in the future. The chapter plans to keep working for the youth vote, starting with a follow-up discussion on November 22 at Hunter College.
NYRA’s chapter in Southeast Florida also got in on the action, rallying to spread the word about the voting age. Chapter president Jeff Nadel reports that they distributed over 1,500 NYRA brochures at the polls, gathered petition signatures supporting the youth vote, including those of a Congressional candidate and a state Senatorial aide, and signed up many new members. Most voters that the youth suffragists interacted with were supportive, which is a very positive indication of successes to come.
Not only that, but NYRA is mentioned prominently in a story by USA Today published the day after the election; Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz and NYRA-Southeast Florida president Jeff Nadel are both quoted advocating for voting rights for youth. Read the story here:

NYRA Voice at First Drinking Age Debate

Alex Koroknay-Palicz, NYRA’s executive director, participated in the first national debate on lowering the drinking age on November 13, providing a powerful voice for youth. The debate, sponsored by the Amethyst Initiative, which has gained so much traction over the past few months in the fight to lower the drinking age, was moderated by Richard Berman, president of Manhattanville College. John McCardell, founder of Choose Responsibility and the Amethyst Initiative, and Adrian K. Lund, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, also participated in the debate, along with several other experts and authors.
Koroknay-Palicz’ arguments – that the drinking age of 21 is both ineffective and fundamentally unfair to our young people – were very well received by those present; Koroknay-Palicz says that everyone he spoke with after the debate was impressed by our side of the issue. Several members of NYRA’s New York City chapter attended the debate as well and recorded it, and Koroknay-Palicz and other NYRA members also had the opportunity to network with other panelists at the college president’s house afterwards. This first-in-the-nation debate on lowering the drinking age gave NYRA the opportunity to put our best foot forward and take a stand for youth on this issue, and we took full advantage of it.
Read a news article about the debate here:
Also watch video from the debate and download the panel’s powerpoint presentations here:

NYRA Launches Youth Vote Video Project

NYRA is taking to the streets and high schools, this time armed with video cameras, to comprehensively document the case for lowering the voting age. NYRA earned in the past month a grant from Mobilize.org and the Sunlight Foundation for the purchase of video cameras for a youth participation project, and we intend to take full advantage of it. This project will be an opportunity for young people to make their voices heard throughout the country on camera, demonstrating through a multitude of faces, voices and young lives the need for full youth participation in our democracy. The videos will be posted both on YouTube and on the NYRA website, youthrights.org, as well as elsewhere on the internet, so this project has the potential to really get the word out.

First Youth Rights TV Ad a Success

The very first youth rights television ad, and NYRA’s first ever TV ad, aired last month on cable TV in Washington, DC. Our press coverage is already increasing; NYRA has earned coverage in college papers at both American University in Washington, DC and the University of Maryland. Also, the ad has garnered well over 1000 views on YouTube in the past month, with over 2900 views so far. This ad serves as an introduction to NYRA and represents our emergence in the sphere of advertising.

Student Rights Union a Force for Youth at Indiana School

The newest NYRA affiliate is the Zionsville Student Rights Union, which represents the students of Zionsville Community High School in central Indiana. The ZSRU is a full-scale operation, with over 400 members, a professional website, and a major presence in the school.
A major priority for the ZSRU is ensuring that rules impacting students are reasonable and consistent with students’ constitutionally protected liberties. “We keep a close watch over rules governing students,” says Steve Ross, ZSRU Chairman. The Union has already achieved several victories: stopping school officials from reading private text messages on confiscated cell phones, ending arbitrary and unfair restrictions on restroom use, reforming parking lot policy, and more. Also, according to Ross, the ZSRU is on the verge of winning a more favorable final exams structure. With its large membership base, the ZSRU is sure to continue working on behalf of student rights in Zionsville for years to come.
In addition, the ZSRU is taking the lead in organizing the youth rights movement in Indiana, with the goal of setting up several additional chapters throughout the state. With their help, Indiana could become a hub for youth rights action in the future, like Berkeley and Southeast Florida have been. NYRA looks forward to working with our allies at the ZSRU on student rights issues.
Visit the ZSRU website:
The ZSRU has created a Facebook group for Indiana students to network and advance their rights. Check it out here:

Blog Explores Youth Rights Issues

NYRA ally and Board of Advisors member Adam Fletcher, director of the Freechild Project, runs a thoughtful, active blog called Younger World. The blog intensely focuses on youth participation and activism, and is one of several ways in which Fletcher is active in youth advocacy. Adam Fletcher has served on NYRA’s Board of Advisors since 2002, and is one of the leading advocates for education reform and youth empowerment. We highly recommend that all youth rights supporters check out his blog.
View it here:

Recent NYRA Blog Entries

First National Debate on Lowering the Legal Drinking Age
Graham Anderson Pokes Holes in the Anti-Suffrage Case
Should Only the Informed Vote?

News from the Web

— NYRA-Related News–
Minors Fight For the Right to Vote
Elizabeth City police proposing earlier youth curfew
Too young to vote, some freshmen sit sidelined

— Other News —
Obama is a bad word at some Mississippi schools
Cinema group bans children from Bond film so adults can watch it in peace
19-year-old wins City Council seat
Marriage visa age rising to 21
Panel: Bar owner discriminated based on age
Panel: Barring 19 year olds from bar violates law
Boy Sent Home From School For Dressing As Jesus
Real Halloween back for long traumatized Pa. town
Obama is routing McCain in student election
Town bans teens from trick-or-treating
Dogs Sniff Scent of Drugs on Teens
Preschoolers’ parents protest manditory flu shots
Students, parents bare claws over dress codes
Student faces porn charge over text message sent by classmate
CAS takes position on lowering the legal drinking age
Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll
Rochester’s curfew for teens ruled unconstitutional
Martin Lee Anderson verdict: One year later
Federal probe lingers in Fla. boot camp death
Big Y fraternization policies go too far
State legislatures look at moped laws
Parents: Girls strip-searched at Mich. school
Ensuring Junior Goes for a Mild Ride


With the amazing youth voting age rallies on Election Day, NYRA’s new youth vote video project, our new affiliate taking a tough stand for student rights, the attention that our recent ad campaign has generated and the recent debate on lowering the drinking age, this is a busy time for NYRA. There is no shortage of ways that you can get involved. Join and participate in the numerous youth rights groups on Facebook. Help out NYRA’s anti-age discrimination campaign by taking a respectful but firm stand against discrimination in your community. Work with a local chapter or start your own, or donate to NYRA. With your help, our successes will continue to mount as we approach 2009.
We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of our members, supporters and friends a happy Thanksgiving.