NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 10, Issue 3
March 18, 2010
Editors: Emily Sanders, Julian Gutierrez and Lu Wang
Publisher: David Moss


-Razoo NIT
-The Endless Crazy Ray’s Campaign
-NYRA Supports Lawsuit Against New York City Police Department
-SSDP and JSA Conferences
-We’re hiring!
-NYRA Blog Updates
-News From the Web


Spring has sprung at the offices of the National Youth Rights Association. We are diligently working on a number of campaigns and projects. For the next couple weeks, we are competing in the Razoo NIT – an online March Madness themed contest, supporting the NYCLU’s lawsuit against the New York Police Department, and wrapping up our year-long campaign to end age discrimination at a business in Maryland. Our #16tovote twitter campaign entered it’s second month and saw a significant increase in tweets and retweets over last months totals and we signed up over 200 new supporters at a variety of conferences around the country. Lastly, we’re very pleased to announce that we are looking to hire a third full-time staff person.

Razoo NIT

NYRA is competing in the Razoo NIT. A March Madness themed online fundraising contest for small nonprofits. In order to compete, charities must have an operating budget below $250,000. Due to the level of competition and our great online support this is a great opportunity for us to win some money to help cover our operating costs. There is $5,000 in prize money available for this contest.
To help, please make a donation through our Razoo March Goodness Page before March 30th.


We had our second #16tovote on March 16th, and it was even bigger than last month’s! #16tovote on the 16th is our monthly event on Twitter to raise awareness of lowering the voting age by tweeting about the voting age throughout the day with the hashtag “#16tovote“. A total of roughly 52 people made #16tovote tweets, with the number of tweets and retweets totaling around 182! And we do it all again on Friday, April 16!
16tovote Stats
Approximate Number of tweeters:
Februrary: 21
March: 52

Approximate Number of original tweets:
February: 40
March: 70

Approximate Number of original tweets plus retweets:
February: 70
March: 182

The Endless Crazy Ray’s Campaign

NYRA is deeply invested in addressing real-life instances of discrimination. For more than a year, NYRA staff has been involved in pursuing a discrimination complaint against Crazy Ray’s, a small chain of autosalvage yards located in Maryland. The complaint stems from a policy that prohibits the entry of persons under 18 into the yards. That policy is both at odds with NYRA’s stance against business discrimination based on age and with age discrimination laws in the state of Maryland. Though our complaint was submitted in early February of 2009 to the Maryland Commission on Human Relations (MCHR), the numerous difficulties and obstacles that executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz and development/operations director David Moss have encountered while merely attempting to follow up on the matter are evidence of the lack of seriousness and respect that “anti-discrimination” groups have for age-related complaints, this exclusion itself being a form of discrimination.
To quickly summarize the chain of events that’s occurred, after initial contact with Crazy Ray’s staff in October of 2008 in which they were informed of the legal violation that the prohibition constituted, our executive director again contacted them in January of 2009 to press the issue more, since they had not abandoned the policy and did not seem concerned that they were and are breaking the law. A week after warning Crazy Ray’s employees that he would take the complaint to the state if the policy were not dropped, Koroknay-Palicz submitted a report to the aforementioned MCHR on February 5, 2009. In March, NYRA member Conor Nugent was denied entry at a Crazy Ray’s location and became a part of the complaint. After months of hearing little from them (during which our staff was informed that we’d been referred to a mediation process, with no apparent success), our contact admitted that nothing had been heard from Crazy Ray’s, meaning that the time for mediation was over and the time for formal investigation of the illegal conduct beginning.
The next MCHR staff member assigned to our complaint began by expressing doubt that age discrimination was actually illegal and implying that it was hardly objectionable for retailers to be interested in banning people under 18 from entering their stores. Our agenda was questioned, our motives were doubted, and we were told “that’s not how things work.” Through diligence, and the ability to remain calm while being yelled at on the phone, we eventually got our case transfered to a case worker who is actually interested in ending discrimination. We now expect resolution within a few days. A case that was looking more and more like a dead end and a victory for ageism will soon be resolved after a year and a half struggle. Stay tuned next month for the final chapter in the Crazy Ray’s saga.

NYRA Supports Lawsuit Against New York City Police Department

NYRA has offered its full support to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s (NYCLU) suit against New York City’s school safety officers over excessive force and wrongful arrests of students.
The lawsuit documents numerous incidents in which students engaged in non-criminal conduct were handcuffed, arrested and physically assaulted by police personnel at school. The police confront and arrest students over minor disciplinary infractions such as talking back, being late for class or having a cell phone in school.
For example, an 11-year-old student was arrested, handcuffed, and taken to the police station for an offense as minor as doodling on her desk in erasable ink. Another girl, 13, was grabbed by the arm, handcuffed, thrown down, and pinned to the ground for telling a school safety officer (SSO) she’d prefer to wait for her mother instead of two adult strangers who threatened her.
“Students should not be afraid to go to school,” said Alex Koroknay-Palicz, executive director of the National Youth Rights Association, “yet every day we hear of new stories where police and school officials make schools a hostile, punitive place to be.”
NYRA believes the reforms the NYCLU lawsuit is seeking will go a long way toward limiting the worst abuse committed by SSOs in New York City, but adult-led lawsuits can only do so much. Until students themselves are empowered to make real decisions about their schools, their communities and their futures, they will continue to face abuse and oppression in schools.
NYRA members across the country deal with harsh treatment in their schools and are working to lead the effort to reform education in this country to be more responsive to the needs and desires of students. Local chapters have overcome great opposition to make real, substantive change to schools.
“Schools exist for the benefit of students, yet the individuals most affected by the policies, practices and structure of schools have the least say in crafting them.” said Jeffrey Nadel, NYRA president and founder of NYRA-Southeast Florida. “Instead of teaching us, schools often better prepare us for lives as felons instead of citizens.”
NYRA hopes the NYCLU lawsuit will win in court and hopes that this suit will generate awareness of how many rights of students have eroded in recent years.

SSDP and JSA Conferences

The weekend of March 12th-14th was a weekend of conferencing for NYRA staff and volunteers. NYRA staffers Alex Koroknay-Palicz and David Moss traveled to San Francisco to attend the 10th Annual Students For Sensible Drug Policy Conference. Meanwhile, in Arlington, VA Hal Levy, Conor Nugent and Eric Goldstein worked the table at the Junior Statesmen of America Conference. Combined with last month’s JSA tabling, we signed up well over 200 new supporters.

We’re hiring!

NYRA is looking for a dynamic candidate with student organizing experience to be our first fulltime Outreach Director. You can find a link to the job description here: http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Job/371979-185/c


March 21 – Board Meeting
8 pm Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM Alex From NYRA if you need an invite

April 5 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

April 14 – National Youth Rights Day
All Day
Hold an event at your school or wear a black arm band in recognition of the rights of youth.
More information here: http://www.nationalyouthrightsday.org

April 16 – #16tovote on the 16th
All Day
Post voting age related tweets on Twitter and include the hashtag #16tovote
Info here: http://forums.youthrights.org/showthread.php?20369

April 18 – Board Meeting
8 pm Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM Alex From NYRA if you need an invite


16tovote on the 16th – March 2010
Compromising yourself out of a cause
Voting at 16 in Spain?
March Forth, Students!
The Wrong To Remain Silent
Smoking Underage is Sexual Assault?
Resistance, Hope, and… Democracy?
Help Lower the Drinking Age on Change.org, We Need Your Vote!
This. This is why I hate people.


NYRA Related
The Pitfalls of Introducing Democracy by Force – By Alex Koroknay-Palicz

Other News
Mom and dad, stop stifling me — it’s damaging my brain!
College students rally over tuition, education quality
Teen Vying To Be Youngest Member of NYC Council
Bubble-wrapped kids missing out on childhood, author claims
MTA, City & State to Students: Drop Dead
“Ageism in Reverse”?
French Ad Shocks, but Will It Stop Young Smokers?
UMass-Lowell sophomore Jonathan Loya to run for state legislature
Lebanon’s Outnumbered Maronites Pull Stops on Voting Age
Queens girl Alexa Gonzalez hauled out of school in handcuffs after getting caught doodling
Babies born from 2010 to form Generation Alpha
Woman had to show ID to buy quiche
Basketball Player Paddled by Coaches
School Overreacts to Toy Gun… Again
Mother won’t be charged with baby’s death because of law loophole
Pledge of Allegiance apology will come from Montgomery teacher
Vermont students weigh in on new credit card law
Parent notification policies for underage drinking evolve
Jeffersonville middle school student suspended for touching pill
Vermont students weigh in on new credit card law
Spain’s Government will propose lowering voting age to 16 years
Canadian women’s hockey celebration with cigars and beer draws scrutiny from IOC
JFK air traffic controller let not one, but TWO kids direct planes: officials


Spring is in the air and many of our campaigns are beginning to bloom as National Youth Rights Day approaches. Our staff expansion indicates that we continue to acquire the strength and vibrancy to transform NYRA into a powerful and influential organization comparable to other modern civil rights groups. With the continued support of our grassroots membership, which remains the most integral component of our continued success, 2010 is going to see abundant growth for the organization and for the movement as a whole.
To make a financial contribution to NYRA, please visit our secure donation page here: http://www.youthrights.org/razoo