NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 8, Issue 3
April 3, 2008
Editors: Justin Graham and Lexi Johnson

Table of Contents

– Introduction
– New Chapter in New Jersey Successfully Desegregates McDonald’s
– Youth Rights Meet-Up in NYC a Success; Next Meeting in April
– Media Alerts – Great NYRA Coverage
– New NYRA Chapter Opens in California
– Interns Wanted for Spring and Summer
– New Newsletter Format
– Feature: The Ongoing Injustice against Puerto Rican Youth
– Recent NYRA Blog Entries
– News from the Web
– Conclusion


With Spring just beginning youth rights activists are as busy as ever. New chapters and new victories are springing up. New opportunities to support youth rights are springing up as well; NYRA is looking for interns. All these wonderful opportunities and victories do not come with out challenge, however. As NYRA becomes more influential, the forces arrayed against the rights of youth will surely become more vocal as well. But we are confident that, with your help, the future for NYRA and the youth rights movement as a whole will be a bright one.

New Chapter in New Jersey Successfully Desegregates McDonald’s

A recently formed NYRA chapter in New Jersey, NYRA-Bergen County, headed by high school junior Eric Kim, scored a victory in the fight against age discrimination by successfully desegregating a local McDonald’s restaurant. Late last year, the restaurant implemented and began enforcing a policy restricting one of their cash registers to customers 21 years old and older. This policy was ostensibly to serve adults faster during the lunch hour, but the segregation was enforced at all hours, and Eric and his new chapter saw it as ageist discrimination to be worked against. They responded with a concerted letter-writing campaign, followed by an in-person meeting with restaurant management. After this initial attempt didn’t work, all it took was reminding the McDonald’s management of New Jersey’s laws against age discrimination to get them to change their policy.
On the heels of this victory, the chapter, with 15 active, dedicated members so far, is aiming for bigger and better things. Eric has a meeting with his town’s mayor scheduled for this week to discuss the possibility of a youth representative on the city council, and to ask for the mayor’s support for lowering the New Jersey voting age to 17. Eric is very optimistic about this meeting, saying that the mayor is “a nice guy, and he seems willing to discuss the issues.” He’s also in the process of scheduling a meeting with New Jersey state legislators to discuss drafting a bill to lower the voting age. Look for exciting developments out of New Jersey in the months to come.

Youth Rights Meet-Up in NYC a Success; Next Meeting in April

NYRA New York City’s Youth Rights Meet-Up was held on March 10, and youth and student rights activists from both the NYC metro area and across the country attended, including key figures in NYRA’s national office in Washington, DC and Brian Lombrowski of CAFETY. Thank you to all who attended; you helped make the Meet-Up a great success. NYRA NYC plans to hold these meetings on a regular basis, and they will be an excellent opportunity to network with other youth rights activists from around the NYC metro area and to work for real change for youth. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 14, at 5:15 P.M. All local NYRA members are strongly encouraged to attend. For more information, and to RSVP, visit:

Media Alerts – Great NYRA Coverage

NYRA continues to tear up the airwaves. In the last few weeks NYRA representatives have appeared on radio shows in New Orleans and Pittsburgh, plus newspaper articles (see news section below). Tonight, NYRA’s Executive Director, Alex Koroknay-Palicz, will make an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Fox Report with Shepard Smith discussing lowering the drinking age to 18. Be sure to tune in. The show will air between 7 and 8 PM EST tonight (April 3). Also, there is a chance Koroknay-Palicz will appear live on Fox’s daily morning show, the Mike & Juliet show, on Monday April 7. Stay tuned to NYRA’s discussion list and forums for more details on this show.

New NYRA Chapter Opens in California

A new chapter out of California, NYRA Thacher, just held their first meeting on March 27. Sara Brody, who started the chapter, said only five people attended but a better turnout was expected for the next meeting. She thinks the meeting sparked the interest of the people who attended and that they will become more involved in the future. NYRA Thacher does not currently have a specific issue that it plans to focus on. A lot of talk was focused on gulag schools and on emancipation rights but those will not be the only concerns of the chapter.
Sara attends The Thacher School, a college prepatory boarding school, where she is a freshman. The Thacher administration gave her no trouble about forming the chapter and were facilitating it. Sara says she has always been interested in civil rights and when she was young her parents encouraged her to question unjust authority. She had previously campaigned for student rights but did not stumble upon NYRA until recently while researching the civil liberties of young people. She believes that “…NYRA is a great organization and I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

Interns Wanted for Spring and Summer

NYRA is looking for interns to work in our national office in Washington, DC during the spring and summer. Interning at NYRA is a rewarding, fulfilling experience that provides an excellent opportunity to serve an important role in the campaign for youth rights, and to help bring about concrete change for young people.
Responsibilities include personally assisting individuals seeking to form local NYRA chapters, outreach to youth rights activists at high schools and universities across the country, fundraising, tabling at various events, conducting online research, assisting in the development and distribution of educational materials, helping to create and update chapter formation materials, and more.
Qualified applicants should have strong verbal and written communication skills, strong online research skills, and the ability to work efficiently and independently. Interested candidates should apply by sending their résumés to nyra@youthrights.org.

New Newsletter Format

NYRA Freedom may be switching from a text format to an HTML format. HTML email does not work with all email providers and we’ll only switch to HTML if everyone can view the HTML format. If anyone would have any problems with a new HTML format please contact us at nyrafreedom@youthrights.org.
Feature: The Ongoing Injustice against

Puerto Rican Youthv

by Victoria Minerva Rodrà guez Roldán
“The age of majority starts upon the turning of twenty – one years of age.” – Article 247, Civil Code of Puerto Rico (31 L.P.R.A. sec. 971)
You’d think this quote is from an old legal text that has no validity anymore, and was amended later on. After all, that law was drafted in 1930. However, this isn’t the case. This is the current age of majority law in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. When the current Civil Code was made by the Legislative Assembly in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico, the age of majority was 21. And this is expected. After all, this was the case in all the states and territories of the union at the time. It isn’t until the Vietnam era youth rights movement that we start seeing a changing of laws, especially with the advent of the lower voting age, which made a lower age of majority a reality. After all, if you are old enough to vote, you definitely are old enough to be an adult, and to have all the legal rights of one.
But in Puerto Rico even though the voting age was lowered accordingly in 1970, the age of majority was never altered. To this day, an 18 year old, a 19 year old, a 20 year old even, is for many purposes in the island considered a minor. To this day, at the age of 18, you can get registered to vote in the elections and help elect the Governor and all the other high seats of the cabinet. It is your right as an American Citizen, but you cannot get a savings bank account without your parents’ signature or with most cell phone companies, have a line to your own name, among many other things. Despite all that, for criminal purposes, you will be tried as an adult at the age of 18.
The Civil Code Commission was created in the 1990s to try to reform and create a new Civil Code, and amidst the numerous proposed reforms that were made to the Code, was to lower the age of majority to 18. However, the issue was sequestered by the numerous controversies that arose, partly with the concept of de facto same sex unions which had also been proposed into the new Civil Code, and amidst the opposition that arose from the religious right, they also voiced their opposition to the age of majority. Currently, Senator Jorge de Castro Font, Senator At Large from the New Progressive Party and chairman of the Civil Code Commission is so supportive of these opponents of our youth’s rights as American Citizens that he has all but stalled completely the Commission’s works and the only draft he has made has the age of majority gutted from the Civil Code draft.
How long shall it be before youth rights are finally vindicated? That is up to you.

Recent NYRA Blog Entries

Why We Do It

News from the Web

— NYRA-Related News —
Report: Poor civics education hurts youth
Clarifications eyed to laws on student privacy

— Other News —
11-year-old takes school network by the horns
Cops bust high school party where kids were drinking from keg of root beer
Son of Hatzalah CEO Rescued from Notorious Abuse Boot Camp
Google: no kids allowed
Child abuse by the government
Teens slaying sparks talk
Jewish family sues Jamaican reform school for troubled teens
New Orleans lawmaker wants to raise legal smoking age to 21
Dozens of children in U.S. face life in prison
Students Protest Fifth Anniversary of Iraq War
Put young children on DNA list, urge police
Obama Tells Vets No Lower Drinking Age
State Passes Droopy Pants Law
Disabled girl’s parents defend growth-stunting treatment
Proposed Illinois Bill Would Give Driving Permits to 14-Year-Olds
Should more juveniles be charged as adults?
8th-grader suspended for Skittles buy
Students face caps in city housing
In Ocean Township, 14 charged in connection with underage drinking incident
Stevens to FAA: Fix child flight loophole or I will
Cops Indicted For Vigilante Handling Of Halloween Prankster
Homeless Youth Coalition eyes drop-in center
California court rules on home schooling


NYRA and the cause of youth rights continue to grow month by month. This is an exciting time, with new, active chapters popping up across the nation, battles against ageist restrictions and discrimination being fought and won, and the possibility of concrete, positive legislative change on the horizon. In order to continue our rapid growth, NYRA needs your help. The forces of ageism will surely gather against us now that we are demonstrating that our cause is a serious and potent movement, and we cannot afford to rest easy now. There’s always a need for new chapters, recruiting new members, protesting ageist policies and laws, and donations to keep NYRA going strong in the months ahead. We can do it.