Keoni - NYRA pictureMy name is Keoni Orlando Scott-Reid and over the weekend I attended a 3 day orientation program for the National Youth Rights Association. I was exposed to a mountain of youth rights stances and and the various types of oppression youth as a whole face every single day. As a youth, I can say to an extent that I had the preconceived notion that my autonomy and choices were controlled. However, I never considered how such a controlled environment supposedly benefited me as a person or to society as a whole. The youth inherit the land, so therefore they should get a say in what that land is and does. Everyday I attend compulsory schooling and acquiesce to learn and participate in things that I do not want to, which do not befit my interests. I am in an environment where I am constantly scrutinized, marginalized and criminalized, but yet the masses consent to my misery as being appropriate for my ultimate benefit. The masses expect me to tolerate authoritarianism in school, but fight it in the real world. The masses hold the idea that by somehow restricting my freedom and choices, it will help me be a productive and inclusive member of this society. But throughout all, the masses have never asked for my thoughts on the matter. This past weekend with NYRA has opened my eyes to see the constant trivialization that we as youth face, and has in turn propelled me to personally fight at all costs the constant oppression of ageism in America. WE ARE PEOPLE WE MATTER.