Unscripted: American Youth’s Message to Obama [VIDEO]
If given the chance, what would you say to President Obama? What key issues do you want the President and Congress to address in the next four years?
“I think we need to address bullying in our schools.”
“My thing that I would like you to focus on is getting our country out of debt.”
“Mr. President, I don’t think anyone should go hungry. Do you think anyone should go hungry?”
Too often ignored in the political discussion, America’s young people are speaking up and asking to be heard in Washington.
In the 2013 Youth Inaugural Address, presented by the Children’s Leadership Council and produced by SparkAction, young people aged 5 to 25— unscripted—shared their views on what issues need fixing right now, and why.
College affordability, gun control, hunger, health care and K-12 education were some of the topics raised—many issues pundits, legislators and the media have circled for months.The video featured youth from elementary, middle, and high schools in Washington, Boston and New York. It also included a compilation of videos uploaded by young people across the country.
These raw, powerful ideas prove that young people want the President—and all lawmakers—to listen.
And listen they should. Young people have unique perspectives on the challenges and issues facing their communities, their schools and their peers—and they have solutions.
A growing body of evidence from state and local youth councils and advisory boards shows that when young people’s voices are heard better policies are created. In more than 400 cities, counties and states across the country, policy advice from young people has resulted in more responsive programs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. In addition, at least nine national organizations including the Red Cross, the UN Foundation, State Farm Insurance Company and the State Department have youth advisory boards. The result? Young people guiding corporate giving that totals more than $30 million to top-quality grantees.
There is surely a place for authentic youth input in good governance.
The video concluded with a call to clear “a seat at the table” for youth by creating a Presidential Youth Council. Such a Council would give young people—using their first-hand experience with systems like education, child welfare, juvenile justice, 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.
But we don’t have to wait for a Presidential Youth Council to hear the voices of today’s young people.
Watch the video and then check out the additional video clips and tools to add your voice, take action, and track how the government responds to these priorities. This project is designed to collect and respond to our voices. So join the conversation!
Don’t miss the Interactive Youth Inaugural Address landing page for information and tools to act and add your voice.
SparkAction is a collaborative online journalism and advocacy platform to mobilize action by and for young people of all ages. The Children’s Leadership Council is a coalition of child advocates representing over 50 leading national policy and advocacy organizations who are working every day to improve the health, education and well-being of children and youth in order to prepare them for school, work, and life.