NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 7, Issue 6

June 22, 2007


NYRA Helps Defeat Earlier DC Curfew
Board Election Set to Begin
DC All-Ages Ban Defeated
Annual Meeting a Month Away – Remember to RSVP
NYRAthon ’07 a Success!
News from the Web


This has been an important month for youth rights. Important legislative victories have been made in our nation’s capitol and important progress has occurred with fundraising over the last few months. Coming up we have the election and the annual meeting, both important events that NYRA members should participate in.

This month isn’t all good news however. Longtime “NYRA Freedom” editor, Scott Davidson, has stepped down from the position he has held for the last 4 years and will no longer be writing this newsletter. Davidson had a great deal to do with the shaping of the current newsletter and indeed of the organization over the last few years. NYRA wishes him luck with all his future endeavors and thanks him for the time he has invested in the organization and this newsletter over the years. His presence at the helm will be missed. And that means “NYRA Freedom” is in need of a new editor. If you care about youth rights and want to help the cause out by taking over the newsletter, please let us know. This is a perfect job for student journalists and aspiring writers. For more information on the position please inquire: NYRA a^t youthrights.org.

NYRA Helps Defeat Earlier DC Curfew

In a move meant to circumvent not only the freedom of Washington, DC’s youth, but to circumvent the democratic process, city council members Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) introduced an emergency resolution to lower the curfew time to 10 p.m. this summer (instead of 11 currently) and raise the age to 17 (instead of 16 currently). As emergency legislation this bill avoided the standard hearings and public comment that non-emergency bills have. With no crime emergency and no appeal for an earlier curfew from the police chief or mayor many council members recognized this as a ploy to avoid public participation.

NYRA has a long history of opposing the DC curfew and organized large protests against the curfew when it first went into effect in 1999. NYRA once again was on the forefront of fighting this measure as we made a last minute mobilization against this bill. NYRA sent letters to all city council members and urged all areas members to do the same. We also spread the word to other business owners, youth groups and community leaders who hadn’t heard about this bill because of the rushed and sneaky introduction of it.

Thanks to the efforts of NYRA, the ACLU, and many concerned businesses and citizens this bill was voted down. With a vote of 7 in favor and 6 against it failed to reach the 9 votes needed to pass as emergency legislation. The most forceful opposition came from council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) and council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). Thomas said the curfew was creating a “state of apartheid” for D.C. youth. Many council members were opposed to the curfew altogether.

This is a great victory for NYRA and a great victory for the rights of young people in Washington, DC. If you live in the DC area and are interested in organizing a chapter to fight the existing curfew law and be on guard for future bills that infringe on youth rights please contact us: NYRA a/t youthrights.org.

Read the Washington Post article here: http://www.youthrights.org/article.php?threadid=11728

Board Election Set to Begin

Next week voting begins in the 2007 NYRA board election. We have 13 members running for 9 seats this year, it will be as competitive as ever. Five incumbents are running for reelection. Incumbents seeking reelection to the board of directors are: Keith Mandell, Adam King, Alex Hull-Richter, Katrina Moncure and Alex Koroknay-Palicz. New faces seeking a spot on the board running this organization are Chip Sinton, Jacob Ritter, William Fleming, Yonaton Hillel Yares, Stefan Muller, Victoria Minerva, Jessica Roeder, and Adam Zarnowski. This is Chip Sinton’s second attempt to gain a spot on the board after falling short in last year’s election.

NYRA is at an important crossroads right now and this board of directors will have a large impact on the future of the youth rights movement. Only NYRA members can vote, so please pay your membership dues here:


All youth rights supporters though have an interest in this election even if you can’t vote. We have a dedicated location in our online forum for discussing the issues and getting to know the candidates. There is more information about each candidate in the forum, so check it out here:


DC All-Ages Ban Defeated

A bill that NYRA members have been working on for several months finally met with defeat at the hands of the DC City Council. Initially proposed in January by city council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), the initial bill would have effectively banned everyone under 21 from music venues, clubs, and other events in the city. After a vocal initial outcry Graham began hosting weekly workgroup meetings to discuss details of the bill with many different stake-holders in the city. NYRA attended half a dozen of these meetings and was able to work out many important compromises in the bill language.

Ultimately though, the compromises did not go far enough and the bill would have still imposed unnecessary restrictions, penalties and burdens upon young people in and around Washington, DC. In early June the bill was tabled by the city council and many key provisions that NYRA opposed are unlikely to resurface. NYRA still strongly supports the over arching goal of the bill – to keep young people safe – and hopes that elements of the bill that improve safety for all DC residents without discriminating against and punishing young people should be passed by the council.

Annual Meeting a Month Away – Remember to RSVP

July 28-29 NYRA members from around the country will be in Washington, DC attending the 2007 NYRA Annual Meeting. This year’s event will have the most extensive collection of trainings and workshops yet. So far we are expecting workshops from Youth Venture, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Youth Policy Action Center, YouthACT and several from NYRA members and activists. Plus, as always, the Annual Meeting will feature the presentation of NYRA’s Annual Report, strategy discussion for the year ahead, and final voting for the Board Election. Best yet Annual Meeting attendees get to be the first in the country to hear the election results!

Since most of our members are scattered around the country this is the best chance to reconnect face-to-face with all the people you’ve worked with and talked with online. We will be gathering for informal events in the city in addition to the workshops and business at the Annual Meeting. Every year we have a lot of fun, so please come if you are able. Attendence is free. The schedule will be sent out once it is finalized, but be sure to RSVP so you can be certain you get all the details for attending.

RSVP for the annual meeting here: http://www.youthrights.org/annualmeeting2007.php

NYRAthon ’07 a Success!

Thanks to the generosity of our members, NYRA’s third annual spring fundraiser has been a great success! We set a target of $3,000 and from March through June we raised over $3,200. In total, 57 people contributed to make this year’s fundraiser successful. This money is essential for keeping NYRA running. Already this money has allowed us to begin work on a new student rights section of the website, helped stop the passage of two very anti-youth bills in Washington, DC, rally in front of the Supreme Court for free speech, begin planning a potential big drinking age campaign for the fall, and help educate thousands of people about youth rights. The winner of this year’s fundraising contest has decided to remain anonymous and will donate the contest prize back to the organization. Thank you everyone who contributed to make this year’s NYRAthon a success!

News from the Web

Articles Quoting NYRA

D.C. Council Rejects Earlier Youth Curfew

Ads from Allstate drive a debate

No legislation without representation

If colleges can’t curb drinking, it’s not for lack of effort

Other Youth Rights Articles

Video Game Addiction a Psychiatric Disorder?

Cops charge 3-year-old ‘rioter’

Youthful Councillors Back Lower Voting Age

‘Lower voting age’ – Give 16-year-olds in Jamaica a voice in politics – Norman Grant

Bradford proposes law to lower voting age to 16

Many parents would back limits on TV violence

City cracks down on curfew violators

Drink at 19? Make it 21!

Alcohol and teenagers: What’s a parent to do?

Bumping drinking age to 19 doubted

Trashing Teens

No touching allowed in VA School

Harman calls for equality as endgame nears

FYEG and EFAy congratulate first EU country to lower voting age

Police fight a liquor loophole

Ten-cigarette packs face ban to put off teens

More Driving Restrictions

Backlash forms against ‘zero tolerance’ http://www.youthrights.org/article.php?threadid=11654

House bill aims to curb indecent TV programs

Drinking-age laws don’t make sense

Conn. Lawmakers Propose Raising Smoking Age

Democracy in Action

Do away with public schools

Laurel teens get curfew

Why not drink at 18?

Underage Debate


Too often we hear bad news. New curfew laws, new restrictions on driving, stricter enforcement of the drinking age and other infringements on the rights of youth are all too common. This month however we have started to see the tide turn. Important victories in DC have stopped thousands of young people from being unjustly arrested. When an entire generation risks being thrown in jail simply because of their birthdate there is a profound ill in our society that must be cured. NYRA is that cure and this month we stepped up and provided direct help to young people in need. We poked a small hole in the dark clouds of ageism to let in some sunshine.

We can’t do this alone. We can’t do it without the continued involvement, support, and activism of you, our members. Your donations and your volunteering make all this possible. Please keep this organization running. Make a donation, start a chapter, apply to take over “NYRA Freedom”, vote in the board election, and come to the annual meeting. Our progress is only limited by our resources, energy, and effort.