by Lauren Morris and John Clemente
In the last several weeks our country has witnessed national events with serious implications for our core democratic institutions. A controversial Arizona immigration law and ban on ethnic studies in public schools have groups organizing on both sides. And the terrorist attack averted in Times Square caused politicians to debate new legislation to revoke the citizenship of potential terrorists inspires those who are passionate about the repercussions for what it means to be American.
Mayor David N. Dinkins
"Young people have always been instrumental in the most important social change in our society."
On May 7th and May 11th, 400 middle school students proved that they are ready and eager to join the discussion as well. These amazing kids worked in groups to determine their positions on such issues as racial profiling, gun control, trials for terrorism and religious freedom, to name a few. They researched the issues, Check out some of their incredible work below.
- Right to Education for all
- End Sex Trafficking
- Immigration Campaign
- Sikh People's Rights Association
At the events, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor David Dinkins addressed the students with some inspirational words. Students then presented their media campaigns to NYC community activists representing the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Brennan Center for Social Justice, the Anti-Defamation League, Lambda Legal, New Visions for Public Schools, Public Health Solutions, the National Organization for Women, New York Law School, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and the Sikh Coalition as well as Goldman Sachs Community Teamworks Volunteers who provided feedback on their hard work and suggestions for making their voices heard to those with the power to influence policy.
The students participating in both events were selected by their schools and represent more than 40 NYC public schools. Students at both events benefit from a sense of accomplishment and they leave with a feeling of empowerment; ready to take action in their own communities and ready to carry the torch of civic responsibility to the next generation.