Hunger, Health Care, Education & Gun Control Among Top Concerns Voiced in: A Children’s/Youth Inaugural Address”
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, January 18, 2013, 04:49 PM EST
“Mr. President, can you hear us?” That’s what young people from 5 to 25 years old ask in the video “Hear Our Voice: A Children’s/Youth Inaugural Address,” debuting at M Central, a three-day inaugural celebration by and for Millennials. The video delivers frank messages to President Barack Obama as he takes the Oath of Office for a second term.
Hunger, health care, education, college affordability and gun control are among the issues that young Americans ask President Obama and Congress to address in this new video, a co-production of the Children’s Leadership Council (CLC) and SparkAction. The video can be seen and downloaded at: www.sparkaction.org/inaugural orhttp://bit.ly/kidsinaug.
The video is not scripted; it features genuine youth voices filmed in schools in Washington, Boston, and New York and in individual videos uploaded by youth across the country. It concludes with a call to give youth “a seat at the table,” by creating a Presidential Youth Council. Such a Council will give young people—using their first-hand experience with systems like education, child welfare, juvenile justice, public health and school lunch programs, etc.— opportunities to bring the issues they care about directly to policymakers in Washington, and help shape the policies and programs that affect their lives. Some of their messages:
• “Mr. President, I feel that no one should have to go hungry. Do you feel like anyone should have to go hungry?”
• “Money that goes to school lunch programs is key to some students eating, period.”
• “Health care should be available to everyone.”
• “Early education is very, very central for a better future for students.”
• “Without a college opportunity, I don’t really see where else I can go.”
• “What I really want to talk about is gun control…and the rehabilitation of mentally ill people.”
• “and I’ll be voting in [varies] years.”
“As President Obama lays out his plans for the next four years, young people ask him to take action on the issues that are most important to their lives,” Alan Houseman, the Chairman of the Children’s Leadership Council, the nation’s largest coalition of child and youth organizations, based in Washington, DC. “You can see in the video that they are very concerned not only about their own future but also about the future of their friends and families.”
“America’s young people are asking that their voices be heard in Washington. They want to know if the President is listening, if we are all listening,” said Caitlin Johnson, co-founder & managing director of SparkAction, a journalism and advocacy site to mobilize action by and for young people. “Young people are savvy future voters. They not only see the problems in their communities, they have solutions. We applaud policymakers for listening to their concerns and giving them a chance to share their ideas, and hope this sparks more of that.”
Video features students from elementary, middle and high schools in Boston, New York and Washington, DC – The Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School, Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, Wilson High School, and School of the Future —and young people from across the country who shared their ideas in video format.
The Children’s Leadership Council is a coalition of child advocates representing over 50 leading national policy and advocacy organizations who are working everyday to improve the health, education and well-being of children and youth in order to prepare them for school, work, and life.
SparkAction, a collaborative online journalism and advocacy platform to mobilize action by and for young people of all ages.