Young people share their experiences of navigating structural oppressions such as ageism through many different expressive media: writing, visual art, music, spoken word, dance, video/film, even multimedia techniques. Today we feature a musical work by a vibrant and thoughtful young person, Lux Onigman.

Portrait of Lila Onigman

Lux is a rising junior at Morristown High School. Their piece, Youth, addresses the frustration the activists of their generation feel at the failures of the people in power to address life-threatening issues. They sing as the voice of children and teens that are not taken seriously enough by the leaders of society when they bring to light issues about climate change, gun violence, and discrimination in all forms.

Youth, composed and performed by Lux Onigman

Text/lyrics:
Look!
Look at me!
Look at me, Hear me, know
I am here!
Acknowledge me,
I want to be seen and heard.
Hear my voice!
I am not too young
To teach you.
I am not too young
To be understood.
You only let me have a small voice,
But I’m using it!
Listen!
How dare you steal my future!
How dare you leave me to die!
How dare you. You….
I am your child.
I am your child.
I am your child,
Your grandchild,
The one you once were.
I am trapped
In your cage,
In your body,
In your mind.
Free me!
Do you have any compassion?
Why do you block it?
You let us be killed
In your own home.
You were supposed to make it safe for us,
We should learn without fear.
You say you make it safe,
But you kill our home.
You discard love,
You discard compassion,
You discard basic human rights,
You discard us
For money,
Money you’ll never use,
When we are here starving,
Trapped.
We’re killed for every difference.
You only show indifference
But we are your children,
Your grandchildren.
You think we can fix it
When you make it worse.
You don’t even try to help,
You pretend to apologize,
But we will grow.
We shall fight for the ones you’ve hurt,
We shall fight for the ones you’ve betrayed,
We shall fight for the ones you’ve killed.
Together we are strong.
Though we are young, we are strong.
We are learning to be strong
Way too fast.

Youth was composed for Young Women Composers Camp Online 2020, a music composition program for high school and college students who identify as female or nonbinary. It was premiered by Elisa Sutherland on July 29th, 2020.

If you are a young creator or know someone who is and would like to share work that relates to the oppression of youth (whether primarily focusing on ageism or engaging with intersectional issues), we want to meet you! Email us at nyra@youthrights.org with one or more of your creations, and you may be selected to be featured on this blog!