Youth Activists Claim “This Is Ours” at 2018 Women’s March Events
Organizers Push to Elevate Youth Issues Nationwide In This Year’s Protests
As the Trump Administration continues its attacks on women’s rights and progressive values, young activists from across the country will lead 2018 Women’s March events to denounce policies that marginalize women and young people while demanding a voice in the progressive movement.
Ahead of the Women’s March anniversary and campaign kickoff in Las Vegas, Advocates for Youth will convene 100 young people ages 15-25 for a pre-convening, themed “This Is Ours,” on organizing communities through a youth-centered, reproductive justice framework.
“The Women’s March needs to represent young people and their movements for collective survival and liberation. I am honored to use my voice and my positionality/privilege to make a difference within the larger resistance,” said Caitlyn Caruso, a student at the University of Nevada and member of the Advocates for Youth Student Organizing team. “As we see more and more politicians and organizations refusing to follow through on their commitments to marginalized young folk (especially queer and trans people of color), it has become even more important to call in our allies and hold them accountable. If the movement doesn’t center the marginalized peoples and acknowledge the successes that are achieved on these young folks’ backs, we are doing an injustice to the work.”
Around the nation, youth activists are taking leadership roles and pushing regional marches to be more inclusive, intersectional, and representative of youth interests.
Hana Hentzen, a high school student in Wisconsin and member of Advocates for Youth’s Muslim Youth Leadership Council, is regional director for the Women’s March Wisconsin Southeast. “I chose to join the Women’s March Organization because I saw a lot of potential. The national organization was very responsive to calls for an increase in intersectionality and diversity, which are now the founding guidelines we operate under, which we call the Unity Principles. It’s important to center young people for a lot of the same reasons it’s important to center women of color and other marginalized women; we bring a new perspective, we are the future of the movement and we’re always under represented.”
Emad Shahnoushi, a high school student in Colorado and also a member of the Muslim Youth Leadership Council, will be speaking at his local Women’s March. “I’m participating in the Women’s March because in this small, conservative town, it brings to life the stories of immigrants, women of color, and so many more that don’t have visibility here. The Women’s March is the opportunity for everyone to make their voices heard in a place where it’s likely that they’re not listened to.”
“Young people have been at the center of the resistance to the Trump-led agenda of bigotry, hatred, and violence. In 2018 they’re not slowing down – they’re taking over,” said Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “Youth activists demand reproductive justice, immigration rights, Muslim rights, and LGBT rights. Politicians and movement leaders need to work with them or get out of their way.”
The This is Ours Youth Pre-Convening will take place on Saturday, January 20th from 12pm-6pm at UNLV (exact location shared upon completion of registration form: https://advocatesforyouth.wufoo.com/forms/q82swt60h1kixh/).
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