What a week for youth rights! At times like this, I am thrilled to be a NYRA member. With our tiny budget but a great deal of passion, NYRA was able to have a significant impact on all three branches of government this week. It makes me happy to see what our organization can accomplish, and proud to be involved.

This week NYRA organized a successful rally in front of the US Supreme Court, we met with Senator Tom Harkin to jumpstart passage of the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs act and on Saturday NYRA members are speaking out about student rights on the US Department of Education youth listening tour.

NYRA worked with the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship to write an amicus brief to influence the Supreme Court to rule in favor of free speech and youth rights in the case of Schwarzenegger v. EMA. Then, on Tuesday, we followed up on that brief with a rally for free speech, video games and youth suffrage on the steps of the highest court in our land. We got great press coverage and had a great impact.

Watch NYRA Board Member, Usiel Phoenix’s stunning speech at the rally:
http://www.youthrights.org/VideoGameSpeech

On Thursday, NYRA members, myself included, had a meeting with Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of a critical Senate committee, to discuss H.R. 911. This bill would be a giant step toward ending the torture and abuse of teens imprisoned in brutal behavior modification facilities. It could change the lives of thousands of innocent children each year, and better protect the dignity and safety of all youth. H.R. 911 seemed to be doomed until NYRA single-handedly got it moving again this week. I am so proud to be a part of this successful campaign.

Finally, on Saturday, NYRA members will be attending the Newark stop on the US Department of Education’s National Youth Listening Tour. The Department is seeking input from young people on school, education reform and student rights. NYRA members are showing up prepared to defend youth rights in school and make our voices heard.

I personally participated in the rally and the meeting with Senator Harkin, and I can’t describe how exciting it is to be at the center of a historic movement that is reshaping this country. We are tiny, but we are very effective.

Yet, as impressive as our impact is, it isn’t what it could be.

We have two staff members, yet our opponents have hundreds. We have a dozen chapters, yet our opponents have thousands of locations across the country. We have a few hundred paid members, yet our opponents have tens of thousands.

If this tiny organization can have a huge impact with our shoe-string budget, can you imagine what we’d accomplish if we were larger? How many laws we’d change? How many young people we’d empower? How many Americans would realize the justice denied to youth?

We could transform this country. And we need your help.

If you care about fully extending the American promise of liberty, equality and justice for youth, then support the one organization that fights for this future. Please contribute to the National Youth Rights Association:
http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php

Yours truly,

Hal Levy
NYRA Board Member & Treasurer