NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 5, Issue 2

February 10, 2005


Junk Science Aimed at Oppressing Youth
Youth Party Forming in New York
Regional Captains Needed
NYRA Benefit Show in Rochester New York
Chapter News:
–NYRA-VT Makes Significant Progress.
–NYRA-NYC Holds Successful Meeting
–NYRA-Berkeley Revives Voting Age Struggle
–NYRA-DC Activities
News from the Web


2005 has gotten off to an auspicious start. The Vermont chapter is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant and well organized we have ever seen. NYRA-NYC and NYRA-Berkeley continue to lead the fight against ageism in their respective areas, while the National office is working to create a more efficient internal hierarchy.

Junk Science Aimed at Oppressing Youth

Dr. Elizabeth Sowell of UCLA recently released a study on the development of the brain. Sowell contends that the brain’s frontal lobes do not fully mature until one is about twenty five years of age. This study coincides with a growing consensus in the scientific community that the frontal lobes have a profound influence on sound decision making.

The media presented these findings in the most ageist context imaginable, making connections between the UCLA study and teenage driving. Due to the heavy media exposure this study received,ageist activists and politicians now have another weapon in their arsenal.

While the study appears valid at first glance, it has at least one profound fault not mentioned in most of the coverage it received. It is disturbing that only nineteen subjects between the ages of six and sixteen were used in this study. NYRA Director Rich Jahn had this to say when he learned of Sowell’s study: “I’m all for brain research. However, any research intent on proving the inferiority of a class, whatever that class may be in whatever time period, is pointless, and damaging to society.” NYRA hopes that more people in Dr. Sowell’s field will come to the realization that scientific study is all but worthless when it is tainted by bigotry and preconceived notions.

Youth Party Forming in New York

A new political party is forming in New York, and plans to run a candidate for Governor. Lowering the drinking age to eighteen will be a key plank in the Youth Party’s platform. They intend to target college campuses and youth oriented media in an effort to galvanize the young vote.

The Youth Party, as it is called, hopes to get the 50,000 votes necessary in order to get a ballot line for the next four years. They have strong positions on a number of other issues, ranging from the elimination of thruway tolls to drug policy reform. While not every part of the Youth Party platform relates to youth rights, its leaders feel that their policies would benefit both younger Americans and everyone else in society.

This effort is being spearheaded by Warren Redlich, a former Republican candidate for congress, as well as a few prominent members of the Liberal and Libertarian Parties. If anyone has any questions, or feels they can help in anyway, please email Warren Redlich at warren@…

While NYRA cannot endorse a political party or candidate, it is safe to say that the Youth Party’s position on the drinking age is very similar to NYRA’s. NYRA applauds any politician willing to take on the minimum legal drinking age.

Regional Captains Needed

NYRA officials recently decided that the best way to organize and encourage chapter formation would be to divide the country in to regions, and appoint captains to handle chapters and recruiting in their respective areas. We have received some great applicants, but Captains and Assistant Captains are still needed in all regions. If you are interested in fundraising, communications and helping chapters get off their feet, please email AKPalicz@…. To see what region you are in, visit this link: http://www.youthrights.org/images/NYRARegionalMap2.bmp

NYRA Benefit Show in Rochester, New York

“I Don’t Know,” a promising band from upstate New York, is organizing a benefit show for NYRA. Many of I Don’t Know’s songs feature Youth Rights oriented lyrics, and anyone interested in Youth Rights and good music should visit their website: http://www.idk.cjb.net/

Other bands scheduled to appear at this event include Primordial Destrux, Fatality Finisher, Skate Fast And Die, Dead To You, Fight For It, Another One Down, Public Aggravation, Social Currency, The Expired, and the Teenage Junkies. The concert will begin at one pm on April 2nd, at Webster Park’s Holt Lodge. There is a five dollar cover charge, and refreshments will be served. Special thanks to all the bands, especially the members of I Don’t Know, for making this possible.

Chapter News

NYRA-VT Makes Significant Progess

In a remarkably short period of time, NYRA Vermont has established itself as being among NYRA’s most professional and well organized chapters. The chapter held its first meeting on January 9th at the Fletcher Free Library. This well attended meeting resulted in the passage of bylaws and the election of officers. Ken Boring was elected President, Jay Leff Vice President, Hardy Machia Secretary, Kevin Ryan Treasurer, and Aaron Voldman will serve as High School Outreach Coordinator. Many of you may know Ken from his frequent contributions to NYRA’s web forums and Hardy from his bid for Vermont Governor.

Due to the hard work of the chapter’s officers, and NYRA Media Director Chanc Amis, the chapter has already received some significant attention in the media. An article by Ken Picard in Seven Days (http://www.sevendaysvt.com/columns/local_matters_news/2005/age_of_reason/) outlines the chapter’s ideas and ambitions. NYRA-Vermont officials Jay Leff and Hardy Machia appeared on channel 17 public access to discuss youth rights. By all accounts the appearance went well, their next meeting was plugged and they responded professionally to all the questions.

Their web page, vt.youthrights.org, is frequently updated and saturated with useful, interesting information regarding the chapter and its activities. All NYRA members, especially those living in Vermont are encouraged to check it out.

NYRA-NYC Holds Successful Meeting

NYRA members Gella Solomon, Ana Hevesi, Jonathan Singh, Jason Kende and Scott Davidson met at the Starbucks on Astor place to discuss the future of youth rights in the area. The chapter agreed that an increased web presence in the style of NYRA’s Vermont and Santa-Fe chapters is needed. The members also agreed that small info cards should be distributed at area high schools when the weather gets warmer. Also brought up at the meeting was the emerging Long Island chapter, founded by Jonathan Singh. The next NYRA-NYC meeting is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 20th at three PM, at the Starbucks on Astor Place. NYRA members are encouraged to attend, but check the NYRA Web Forums before hand, as the location may be subject to change.

NYRA-Berkeley Revives Voting Age Struggle

NYRA Berkeley made history when it helped launch a campaign to lower the voting age in California. The chapter’s efforts coincided with a bill proposed by State Senator John Vasconcellos to lower the state’s voting age to 16. While the bill was eventually abandoned, many of its key supporters are still members of the California Legislature.

NYRA-Vice President Robert Reynolds has been hard at work, trying to convince local politicians to reintroduce SCA 19, the voting age bill. NYRA-Berkeley members have been sending letters to California Senate Majority Leader Don Perata, urging him to support and revive this important legislation. Estimates for the number of letters sent so far range between four and seven hundred. Much of the credit goes to NYRA member Rio Bauce, who collected a copious amount of signatures, and secured an important media contact for NYRA. For more information on how you can contact members of the California State Senate, and for a copy of a form letter you can sign, please email Robert Reynolds: RReynolds@…

NYRA-DC Activities

On February 5th and 6th, NYRA was a significant presence at the National Conference on Organized Resistance in Washington, DC. NYRA members Katrina Moncure, Dave Varney, and Alex Koroknay-Palicz ran the table. They signed up members, collected donations and spread youth rights related information. Meanwhile, NYRA-Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz delivered an insightful presentation to the people attending the event with a workshop on youth rights. NYRA DC’s next meeting will take place on Saturday, February 12th, at three pm at the Cleveland Park library. Any members in the area wishing to learn more about NYRA-DC should visit dc.youthrights.org or email Katrina Moncure: kgmoncure@….

News From the Web

College Freshman Complains About Underage Drinking.


Teen Brain Blamed for Reckless Driving.


Canadian Voting Age Bill Goes Forward.


College Institutes Curfew.


Age of Reason (NYRA Vermont)



The events discussed above represent the best and worst of America’s attitudes towards young people. While many powerful forces are working toward the oppression and marginalization of out nation’s youth, a small band of dedicated activists continues to grow exponentially in numbers and recognition as they rally against ageism. I am appealing to all of you who believe that a sixteen year old ought to be allowed to vote, to all of who you do not believe in having young people arrested simply for venturing out side of their homes. If you are such a person and you are not currently contributing to this movement, you must know that your help will always be needed, welcome, and appreciated. Join the chapter nearest to you, and if there isn’t one, create one. Visit NYRA’s web forums to learn about important projects like the Student Bill of Rights and the NYRA public service announcements.