Voice at the Table
Juliet Brack Ashkin, Mikey Foster Estes, Jazmine Hayes, and Michelle Hernandez Vega.
Facetiming with Juliet the other day she suggested a new educational system where kids could be social together, learning things alone when they get old, and are into that kind of thing. In 1997, at age 12, I served on the steering committee for the 1st International Girls Conference at the U.N., lecturing on ‘reverse ageism’, advocating for our voices to be heard explicitly, opinions respected, and maybe even ideas implemented. When I discovered in High School that NYC property taxes were directly correlative to public school funding I lost hope in humanity for a while. But then, people keep getting born, growing up, and influencing society, at a rate of about 15,000 births/hour. Hope in their future means paying close attention, learning from each other as particular experts, of our very own experiences. To coexist is not to segregate and oppress people by age, gender, race, class, religion, or any other stale, outdated, and harmful societal construct, which ‘adults’ continue to put up with. Today our ‘youth’’ protest, want a reality check, because they want a future. Strengthening bonds between friends and family across generations, engaging in mutual care and open dialogue, creates possibilities to liberate each other from perpetuating patterns of oppression, subjugation, and violence.