NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 3, Issue 6

July 1, 2003


Takoma Park Voting Age Campaign
Chris Apple and NYRA-MC
Election and Meeting
Library Censorship
Drinking Age Press Attention
ACLU Membership Conference
Web Page expansion
News From The Web
Chapter News


It has been another great month for Youth Rights. There are a lot of things going on right now, especially in the DC area. While it is great that so much is happening there, it would be nice to see similar action in other parts of the country. Become active in your local chapter, and if there is no chapter in your area start one by contacting DeWarren Langley, director of chapter formation. Remember, good things can only happen when people make them happen. If you would like to see a voting age campaign, or recruiting, or whatever else in your neck of the woods, please, take action, do something.

Takoma Park Voting Age Campaign

Most of you probably know that NYRA has been working on lowering the voting age in Takoma Park Maryland to sixteen for sometime now. A successful rally kicked off the campaign. NYRA contacted local politicians, who said it is far too late for them to make the campaign part of their agenda this year, so NYRA has decided to get the motion on the ballot via petition.

In the city of around 12,000 people, NYRA needs at least 2000 signatures. Area members have been petitioning for only a few days and already have around 150 signatures. A lot of petitioning will be done during the 4th of July parade/fireworks in Takoma Park. This will be a great opportunity to petition and we expect that a lot of people will sign that day. If you live in the area and think you can help, please do.

NYRA is confident that this will be a great victory for Youth Rights. If the voting age in Takoma Park is sixteen, we will make history, with the lowest voting age anywhere in the country. It will spark media attention, more activism and donations, and further victories. We expect to lower the voting age to sixteen in Takoma Park by 2004, Baltimore in 2006, and all Maryland in 2008.

All interested are encouraged to join the lowerthevote mailing list (email lowerthevote@yahoogroups.com). Also, visit NYRA-DC’s voting age campaign page http://www.geocities.com/youthrightsdc/takomapark.html.

Chris Apple and NYRA-MC

Chris Apple has been circulating a Youth Rights oriented petition for sometime. The Petition of Voices demands that students receive proper representation when accused of violating school regulations. Currently, 275 people have signed the Petition of Voices, and all residents of Montgomery County are encouraged to do so as well. Please visit the site http://www.youthrights.org/mc/

While gathering support for this petition, Chris came across NYRA and found that he shared common goals and beliefs with the organization. He has since been a key member of NYRA-DC and helped gather signatures for the Voting Age Campaign.

A resident of Silver Spring, MD, Chris has begun work starting a local chapter in Montgomery County, which will become a key partner in the strong network of DC area chapters. Please contact him (chris.apple@verizonesg.net) if you live in Montgomery County and are interested in helping with NYRA-MC.

Election and Meeting

Election Time is here. Only the membership can truly decide the fate and direction of the organization. The election this year is very geographically polarized, with candidates from North Dakota, New York, and DC. All those who can are encouraged to vote.

Also, NYRA’s general meeting will take place in Washington, DC on August 9th. This is a very important event and all are encouraged to attend. Free housing will be available for those traveling great distances. NYRA-DC is organizing a fundraiser concert to coincide with the meeting.

Library Censorship

In a recent defeat for Youth Rights, the Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional for libraries to be forced to install anti-porn filters on their computers, even though the software blocks many legitimate websites that are not of a sexual nature.

The most recent in a series of anti-pornography laws passed by congress, The Children’s Internet Protection Act is a foolhardy, ageist, protectionist law that restricts the right of all people, but specifically the Youth, to access material of both a sexual nature and non-sexual nature.

The law requires all libraries to install the filters, or their federal funding will be cut off. Senior ASFAR member Susan Wishnetsky, who also happens to be a librarian, emphasized that this takes away comprehensive access to online information. She also said, “As long as the right to read and learn remains restricted for people under 18, this ruling will represent only one of many ways in which our society tries to keep them ignorant and helpless — just one of many obstacles for young people seeking knowledge.”

While this is truly a defeat, there are things you can do to get around this law. PeaceFire, a wonderful organization dedicated to free speech on the Internet, has created a Circumventor filter that can get around the censorship programs. So fear not my friends they cant truly stop us from accessing web material. www.peacefire.org/circumventor/simple-crcumventor-instructions.html

Drinking Age Press Attention

The drinking age is a clear violation of Youth Rights, and NYRA is one of the organizations that recognizes and fights it. Media attention is a key factor in the crusade against ageism, and we have received a relatively high volume of media attention for our stance on the drinking age recently.

Since an editorial appeared in The Washington Post advocating a lower drinking age, the news media has become interested in the issue. Our president Alex Koroknay-Palicz was interviewed by both the Voice of America and the Montreal Mirror. Alex made a good case for lowering the drinking age, and the articles were fairly balanced. Below are links to three articles in which NYRA is mentioned.

* http://www.montrealmirror.com/meat/news1.html
* http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=2554BDDF-7E8E-4530-97CEF44499B39AAB
* http://www.jointogether.org/sa/news/summaries/reader/0,1854,563676,00.htm

ACLU Membership Conference

The American Civil Liberties Union is an organization that promotes personal freedoms. Alex Koroknay-Palicz, Johnathan McClure (NYRA-North Dakota Official), Billy Lutzen (NYRA-North Dakota Official), and Dan Goldman (New Jersey NYRA member) were all in attendance.

The ACLU made a good effort to attract Younger members, possible because the average member age is sixty-seven and they want a more Youth-oriented image. Youth Rights was discussed openly at the conference, and they were warm towards Youth Rights (The president of the ACLU is a member of NYRA’s Board of Advisors)

NYRA members passed out literature and spread the good news of Youth Rights. NYRA tabled at a vacant booth and many new members were recruited. Johnathan McClure was interviewed on the radio.


On June 14th NYRA recruited ten new members at the Takoma Park Jazz festival.

On June 30th, NYRA tried to recruit and gather signatures at an Anti-Flag show, however they were hassled by Club management and forced to leave. The club management was completely out of line, because NYRA members were on a public sidewalk.

Web Page Expansion

On July 1st, the attendance record of Board members was posted with links to BOD Meeting Minutes.

On June 20th, Robert Grants “Free My People” is added to the quotes page.

On May 31st, “A Youth Liberation Movement is Taking Shape” Article is added to the research section.

On May 27th, “Adultism and Cultural Competence” was added to the research section.

News From the Web

News from The Web features links to other Youth Rights articles on NYRA’s website.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20030428-1633-cnssmoke21.html – Bid To Raise Smoking Age Sent Packing

http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=2554BDDF-7E8E-4530-97CEF44499B39AAB – US Legal Drinking Age Becomes Subject of New Debate

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22882-2003Jun23.html – Court Upholds Internet Filters

http://www.jointogether.org/sa/news/summaries/reader/0,1854,563676,00.html – US Drinking Age Questioned

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1157&dept_id=172072&newsid=8283903&PAG=461&rfi=9 – Texas Students asking school board to revisit dress code

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=2961579 – Teen Sues Over ‘Lesbian Barbie” Shirt Ban

http://nospank.net/n-k54.htm – Dallas Independent School District may end paddling

http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-362825.html – Teens chafe as mall sets chaperone policy

http://www.votesat16.org.uk/news.php?story=27 – 17 year old Israelis go to polls

http://www.canoe.com/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2003/06/07/105334.html – Canadian Supreme Court hears arguments against spanking

http://www.columbiatribune.com/2003/Jun/20030602News003.asp – NYRA-Mizzou Helps Defeat Curfew

http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20030604/frontpage/20408.shtml – Court strikes down St. Louis video game law

http://www.ctnow.com/news/local/hc-curfew0604.artjun04,0,7850594.story?coll=hc-headlines-local – Federal court strikes down Conn. curfew

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A8079-2003May2&notFound=true – Let My Teenager Drink

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A46650-2003May27&notFound=true – Student Seeks to Make a Difference

http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?Category=23&ID=102804&r=0 Universities under fire over ‘free-speech zones

If you would like to get your Youth Rights news on a more regular basis, and don’t want to wait for “NYRA Freedom” each month, then check out NYRA’s acclaimed website at www.youthrights.org. News links are updated almost daily. Also sign up for NYRA’s regional discussion lists by e-mailing Rich Jahn.

Chapter News

NYRA-DC has obtained funding from Youth Venture. NYRA thanks Youth Venture for it’s generous $500 donation.

NYRA-DC is working on setting up a benefit show for the chapter. NYRA-DC is trying to find support within the Washington Ethical Society to try and see if the event could be held there without charge. Also, NYRA-DC has forged somewhat of a partnership with The Electric Maid. If NYRA members volunteer there, they will be allowed to hold events there free of charge.

Laura Finstad of NYRA-DC is starting a Youth Rights Newsletter to distribute in the area. While focused on the DC area, the newsletter will be open to suggestions and stories from around the country.


This has been the latest in a string of great months for NYRA and the Youth Rights movement. However, things could be a lot better. Donate money, get involved with your local chapter, start a local chapter, protest something, campaign for something, just do something, and the Youth of the world will be better off.