As part of my work with young people, I’m also encouraging them to share their insight. This is a new post written by an incredibly bright young woman who works in Washington, D.C. I hope you’ll read it and feel free to share it as well.
Five Things American Youth Will Do to Change the World in 2012
By Mikayla McDonald
Youth in America is objectified and sold as a product. Its materiality is assigned incredible monetary value. Yet the intangible merits of youth – its passion, its energy, its idealism, its creativity – are dangerous to the status quo, and we are therefore repressed whenever our rebellious acts move past “cute” or “iconic”. We are one of the most manipulated populations in the United States: our forms are idealized while our mental attributes are belittled and devalued.
It is time to redefine what youth means and what it is capable of. The year 2012 will be a year of tremendous transition, and American Youth will play a significant role it. As part of this transition, the Youth will perform at least five revolutionary acts. In 2012, the Youth will:
1) Question the reality created by the establishment. Reality is a cultural construct and is defined largely by those institutions which we ascribe authority. But we must recognize that authoritative versions of reality are skewed, biased, and censored because they are meant to preserve hierarchical power structures. We must understand that the narratives written in our history books are purposefully incomplete. They leave out the stories of those marginalized, oppressed, and colonized by the author.
2) Reach out to our elders and our ancestors. The power to challenge oppression and transcend institutionalized ignorance lies in the collective knowledge and wisdom of the earth-rooted past and in the songs and rituals of old. It is the role of the elder to pass down this knowledge, and it is time again to respect and revere those who hold it.
3) Be re-empowered to make decisions on behalf of ourselves, our families, and our communities in forums of social, economic, and political influence.
4) Reject materialism (both commercial and philosophical) and ascribe value to sacredness once again.
5) Take up a trade. The generation of the internet and the automatic-everything is also the most helpless generation. If we’re to create a future of resilience and sustainable self-sufficiency, each of us must learn a manual trade that will help our communities thrive in times of hardship.
The Youth must use its energy, creativity, imagination and idealism to manifest communities of solidarity, compassion, and self-sufficiency. The coming transition from hierarchical injustice to horizontal egalitarianism will be a tumultuous one, yet we can use our powers to help each other through these struggles, and create a just and sustainable world.