NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 7, Issue 5

May 10, 2007


NYRA Election Coming Up
Fundraising Update
Cell phone and email issues in Buncombe County, NC
Youth Rights Network
NYRA-DC Continues Fight Against Club Ban
Adam King Interviews Brad White
News from the Web


There are some interesting things on the horizon. Adam King continues his struggle for youth rights in North Carolina, and NYRA-DC has raised more concerns over Councilmember Graham’s club ban bill. We’re in the final stretch of the NYRAthon and need everyone to contribute to make this year’s fundraiser a success. The next month could be very good for youth rights.

NYRA Election Coming Up – Candidates Needed

Every year, NYRA members elect a new board of directors and vote on changes to NYRA’s bylaws. Anyone who has paid $10 in member dues is eligible to vote in the election and run for office. NYRA’s board of directors elects NYRA’s officers and sets the organization’s general course for the year. This year we have a number of qualified candidates, but we always need more. If you are at all interested in running for the board of directors you are strongly encouraged to do so. All NYRA members are able to run for the board. There are nine seats on the board of directors.

Voting will begin on June 28th and end on July 28th when results are read at the annual meeting in DC. If you would like to run for the board, or attend the annual meeting (which will feature lots of cool workshops) please email akpalicz@youthrights.org.

Fundraising Update

NYRA’s annual fundraising contest, NYRAthon, ends on June 1st. So far, NYRA has not raised as much money as it had anticipated. It is important that people participate so NYRA can continue to pay its staff and rent its office. Prizes will be awarded to the people who donate the most before June 1st.

Please visit http://youthrights.org/donate.php if you would like to make a donation. Donations to NYRA are tax deductible. Special thanks to all those who have already participated in the contest.

Cell phone and email issues in Buncombe County, NC

School officials expressed an interest in banning the use of cell phones by students in Buncombe County. This represents a gross violation of student rights, as students have many legitimate reasons to use cell phones during class changes and lunch time. There was also a proposal to ban personal email in Buncombe County. This is even more ludicrous than the cell phone policy. NYRA Vice President Adam King, who is a student leader in Buncombe County, opposed the proposed changes. Adam King was partially successful – cell phones will be banned during class changes but not during lunch. Board of Education Chairman Richard Greene also stated that he is willing to revisit the ban on personal emails. For more information visit Adam King’s blog at http://www.studentonthemarch.org

Youth Rights Network

The youth rights network is a collaborative tool used by the youth rights community. Similar to wikipedia, the youth rights network contains important information regarding youth rights, and can be edited by everyone. There is already a lot of incredible stuff at the YRN, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. Anyone who’d like to contribute should visit www.youthrights.net.

NYRA Continues to Fight Club Ban

(From the NYRA Blog)

As was reported in a previous NYRA blog entry, NYRA participated in several work group sessions with DC City Councilmember Jim Graham. Graham wanted to introduce an ageist bill, but was willing to listen to some of what we had to say, and the final draft of the legislation was significantly better than what Graham was going to introduce before. While NYRA appreciates Councilmember Graham’s willingness to let us participate in the legislative process, we are still opposed to his bill for a number of reasons.

Last night several NYRA members attended a public committee hearing at which Graham’s bill was discussed at length. Towards the end of the hearing, NYRA Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz, NYRA President Scott Davidson, and ACLU of the National Capitol Area Legislative Council Stephen Block testified against the bill. Mr. Block’s testimony focused on the provision in the bill that makes underage drinking a criminal offense in certain places. The remarks that Koroknay-Palicz and Davidson delivered to the committee focused mostly on the aspects of the bill that make it more difficult for those under eighteen to enter bars and clubs.

Councilmember Graham introduced his bill in response to the tragic death of Talesha Ford, a seventeen year old woman who was shot at a DC night club. In addition to making clubs safer, the bill will keep young people out of many bars and nightclubs. NYRA feels that instead of violating the civil rights of potential victims, the government should work to keep dangerous criminals out of these establishments. As Alex Koroknay-Palicz said in his testimony “…the person we need to blame is the man who pulled that trigger. The shooter is and was an adult. If this bill was enacted then, it would have done nothing to stop him from being at that club. His stray bullet would have just hit someone else and a different family would now be mourning.”

The hearing lasted about four hours, and most of the people who testified supported it. Much of the testimony did not deal directly with the issues with which NYRA was most concerned. NYRA brought a number of young people to the hearing, but they had left by the time NYRA representatives testified.

NYRA does support certain aspects of this bill. We think that having clubs submit security plans and allowing clubs to directly hire off duty police officers are excellent ideas.

Adam King Interviews Brad White

April 13, 2007

Adam King

*Adam:* My name is Adam King, and I’m the Vice President of the National Youth Rights Association. I am doing this interview for “NYRA Freedom.” Our interview today is with Brad White, former Director of Public Relations for NYRA. Welcome, Brad.

*Brad: *Hi.

*Adam: *How did you find out about NYRA?

*Brad: *I don’t have any idea. I believe I just came across the NYRA website through an Internet search for something related to youth rights.

*Adam: *What inspired you to join the youth rights movement? Did you have any personal experiences where you were directly affected by laws based on age?

*Brad: *I grew up in a household where politics was a typical dinner discussion. While my father will contend he is a conservative, his viewpoints fall closer to a Libertarian. Because of this environment, I always had an interest in politics, and much of my initial viewpoints were based on the culture around me. I cannot say I was ever particularly affected by laws based on age any more than anybody else. The typical R-rated movie was the most a 13 year old could get upset about during the teenage years. The only thing I ever truly felt passionate about, which grew during my high school years, was that the voting age at 18 prevented our voice from being heard. And while many contend that the youth will only vote with their parents voice, or they will not vote at all, does nothing to support those that want their voice heard. Politicians ignore the youth because we have no vote.

One very good example I have of that was in high school.

*Adam: *Tell me about it.

*Brad: *Myself and two friends started an ACLU chapter at my high school. One of our big fights was to stop th school from wasting our tax payer’s dollars on a security camera system that would not benefit the school. Their claims that it would cut down theft and help secure the school from others trying to attack the school, such as school shootings, were unfounded. Look at Columbine – those kids were on camera. A kid who wants to shoot people at school wants the attention. Plus the school claimed the cameras would never be watched live to stop the “privacy” concerns of faculty and students. And on the topic of theft. The people who were having theft issues were people that were stupid enough to leave their locker open or their purse in the library. I didn’t realize we needed to spend tax payer’s dollars to help stupid people who don’t know how to protect their belongings. But after collecting signatures from the majority of the student body, parents, as well as school officials, including the principal, the school board ignored our case and voted to approve the cameras. despite our publicity all over the Chicago papers, being on the front page, gathering a majority of signatures from students, parents, and faculty, they ignored us because we were 16

*Adam: *I recently tried to add a student advisor on my county’s school board, and despite the wide support, they rejected my proposal, too.

You joined the NYRA Board of Directors when you were 18, and you served for 2 years. What did you like the most about serving on the board for those 2 years?

*Brad: *Probably being an opposing voice on many issues. There was one board member in particular, and I forget his/her name, but we just did not agree on anything. I’m very strong in my opinions, and so it resulted in some very interesting conversations and board meetings.

*Adam: *I am not sure how much you have been keeping up with NYRA lately, but how do you feel about NYRA’s current activities – or how is it different today?

*Brad: *Well I haven’t been very good about keeping up with NYRA’s activities. From the little bit I see, it seems they have fallen off the radar on many issues. I recall quite a few significant pieces of coverage that NYRA generated back a few years ago when I was still relatively involved, and much of that seems to have gone away. For NYRA to be successful in their goals, they need to work hard to have their voice be heard, as well as stay focused on what is important and ignore outside issues like the war. I’m not saying they haven’t been doing this, but it is imperative for the future of NYRA in my opinion. NYRA does not need to become the next SDS, which started off as a great organization, and turned itself into nothing more than an anti-war group.

NYRA needs stronger leaders. And sadly that is not coming from the younger generation. The youth generation is becoming less involved in politics and issues because society does not expect them to be involved. Right before WWII and Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the youth were lying about their age to join the war. They cared about politics and what was going on in the world. Nobody cares today. Sure, there is plenty of anti-war sentiment, but that is only because its the popular thing to do. I’m talking about a youth generation that needs to care about their future. Care about the problems with social security and other similar issues that will significantly hurt their future if they do not stand up and make their voice heard.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to parents failing to hold their children up to higher standards. Parents let their children slip by, and schools let kids slip through the system. Finding the standout individuals who will make a difference in the world are much more difficult to find these days. And the only generation we can blame for that is our parents. Their parents never did that for them, and its unfortunate our parents generation has let it happen. Now I’m not saying this is the case for everybody, but it is definitely a major trend. And if the trend continues, our children will be much worse off then we are today.

I just went off on a major tangent. Sorry.

*Adam: *That’s okay. You left in 2004. What happened?

*Brad: *School, life, beer.

Like most college kids, we have two focuses. One, getting the grades to graduate college. And two, having the best time of our lives. It’s our first chance at independence, and I wasn’t going to be sitting on the sidelines of my wild college days.

I attempted to stay involved with NYRA, but outside things pulled me away. Friends, school, etc., I just didn’t believe it was fair to give a lackluster effort to NYRA. It was not beneficial to the organization.

*Adam: *Do you think you’ll become involved with NYRA again sometime in the future?

*Brad: *It’s possible. I just don’t know where I’ll fit in the time. I strongly believe in the causes NYRA is working for, but at the same time I’m very passionate about a lot of things, and the most important one to be is getting my career on the right path so I can provide a future for my family.

*Adam: *You’re now working with Ruder Finn, a public relations firm, correct? How are you liking that?

*Brad: *It’s good. I’m working with technology-related clients, which is an area I am particularly interested in. But who I’m working for also depends on who’s asking. While public relations is my career path, and Ruder Finn is my firm to anybody related to PR, I also am focused on getting my startup company CareerMesh off the ground. I will leave the PR field immediately as soon as funding comes to fruition for CareerMesh.

*Adam: *What will be different about CareerMesh?

*Brad: *CareerMesh is focused on providing entry-level candidates with the resources to make informed career decisions. Those entering the job marketplace for the first time do not have the networking or career experience in place to understand where to get their career started on the right foot. For those that need a different type of solution for their career search, CareerMesh will have the resources to accomplish that. On the flip side, it’s also about giving companies the ability to stand out beyond a typical job posting on CareerBuilder and Monster and have a better way to attract candidates.

*Adam: *That sounds great. Do you have anything else you would like to add before we close our interview?

*Brad: *Yes, I predict the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series and the Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl this year to make Florida’s wins over Ohio State look like nothing.

*Adam: *Haha. We’ll see.

Well, thank you very much for your time. This closes our interview with Brad White.

News from the Web

DUNLAP: High school junior wins school board seat

Italians given drug test kits for teens

Adam King fights on for teen rights and representation

Swiss canton drops voting age to 16

Ohio Teacher Forces 6th-Grader to Urinate in Classroom

Student’s Web death threat

Dad Upset Kid Banned From Wearing Pagan Symbol at Indiana School

$5M settlement in Fla. boot camp death

How’d You Do In School Today?

Straight Talk: Time to Rethink the Drinking Age

House says: Hang up and drive

Schuyler takes government to others

Complaint Lodged Over ‘Quiet Room’ at Ox Ridge Elementary School

Lower the drinking age

MP: Voting age should be lowered to 16 http://www.youthrights.org/article.php?threadid=11027

Torrance teens say curfew’s comeback limits their options

Law Would Require Students To Apply To College

Divorced parents clash over 12-year-old son’s circumcision

Is it really spying if you love them?

Schools Banning iPods To Beat Cheaters


Some interesting things happened in April. NYRA is continuing its fight against ageism, with important fronts in North Carolina and The District of Colombia. This could be a very good summer for NYRA, with some excellent board candidates and a lot of highly qualified summer interns. We need your support to make it happen. Please donate whatever time and money you can.