YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

  • DACA True or False: Reality vs. Rumor

    by Jenny Bolario

    It’s been a scary start to 2017: news of immigration raids, deportations, executive actions. The uptick in ICE activity stokes fear and rumor in the immigrant community. That’s true even for young people with DACA — the program that allows undocumented young adults who came to the U.S as children to have work permits and protection from deportation. But what’s reality and what’s rumor right now?

    Want more information about immigrant legal rights and DACA? There are lots of resources available:

    United We Dream
    Immigrant Legal Resource Center: Check out their latest DACA advisory here.
    National Immigration Law Center: Check out their DACA information page here. 

    For direct legal services, check out this directory of immigration legal service providers around the country from the Immigrant Advocates Network.

  • Why Philanthropy Is Not a Profession

    by Howard Gardner

    Many occupations today call themselves “professions,” but what does it mean for a domain to truly be a profession, and does philanthropy count?
    According to Howard Gardner, the field of philanthropy is not yet a true profession, an argument he makes in a February 2017 opinion piece published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
    Click here to read Gardner’s thought-provoking piece in full, which includes a discussion of the core elements of professions as well as different strategies of philanthropic giving. (PDF also available.)

  • Fader Features Youth Radio Alums Making It Big

    by Jenny Bolario

    Photo Credit: Leah Mandel via Fader
    We’re so honored to be featured in Fader, a magazine cover music, culture, and style. Writer Ruth Gebreyesus wrote glowingly of Youth Radio’s work and our talented alumni.

    In the early ‘90s, the American media’s reporting on young people, especially young people of color, focused on violence and crime. By the decade’s midpoint, the term “super predators” was in heavy circulation, used by politicians to conjure up a false and racist image of a remorseless and impulsively violent youth. But in 1992, journalist Ellin O’Leary saw a different picture… Youth Radio teaches kids creative independence — it’s the catalyst that transforms young media consumers into imaginative creators.

    To read the full article, click here. And shout-outs to our talented alums who spoke about their work here, Iamsu!, 1-OAK, and Rayana Jay

  • The Beautiful ‘Female Energy’ Offers Great Vibes in Every Way Possible

    by Youth Radio Raw

    Wassup Wassup. It’s yah human HANIF. And I recommend listening to the audacious female energy by Willow Smith.
    This song sounds euphoric, like when you hear your mother speak after a couple years. That is what music would sound like. The alternative r&b sound of the song makes you feel so positive and happy. The song is not intimidating but not dreadful either, Her voice adorable and dorky but sexy all in one.
    This song is about wanting something that is not good for yourself. But also not being able to help it. The instrumentation is chill. The producer did a good job with the thought and work put into this piece. The song is simple and understated, sort of elegant. The synthesizers are mad interesting to the ears. This song is filled with calming energy and love.
     I relate to parts of the song that express resignation. I really appreciate “It’s really out of my control what you do is not my problem. I do not want you to go. But I don’t know how to stop you.” They express understanding abandonment and how it’s out of our control whether in an argument or on the verge of breaking up.
    If you are not interested in alternative R&B then you definitely won’t like this song. This song is beautiful. But you like what you like. So, it’s up to you to like it.

  • Youth Radio Podcast: Foster Care

    by Brett Myers

    Illustration: Storm White
    Four different Youth Radio commentators take listeners inside their experiences with the California foster care system.

  • Study Stresses Dangers Of Charging Youth As Adults

    by Youth Radio Interns

    Until November of last year, California prosecutors could bypass the juvenile justice system, charging minors in adult courts without any input from a judge. “Prosecutorial direct filing” is no longer legal after the passage of Prop 57 last November, and now a report from advocacy organization Human Impact Partners, published earlier this month, has made a case for why California should go further–and eliminate the practice of charging youth as adults entirely.
    ‘Juvenile InJustice: Charging Youth as Adults is Ineffective, Biased, and Harmful’ argues that adult correctional systems are inappropriate for young people based on factors such as inadequate health and education resources, exclusion of families from adult court proceedings, and lack of consideration the adult court system gives to the individual circumstances surrounding each particular minor, not just their crime.
    The report finds that young people incarcerated in adult correctional facilities are more likely than those in juvenile facilities to face trauma, violence, and abuse, including a 36-fold increase in likelihood of committing suicide, and five-fold increase in sexual assault.
    Those diverted to adult court are more likely to be people of color as well: 88% of juveniles who were tried as adults in 2015 were youth of color.
    The report cites that between 2003 and 2014, the rate of prosecutorial direct filing in California increased by 23% even though the rate of juvenile felony arrests had decreased by 55%. Its authors argue that direct filing, a practice that continues in other states, expands unnecessarily punitive punishments to minors who would be better served in the juvenile justice system.
    The report from Human Impact Partner can be found here.

  • Relationship Deal Breakers

    by Jenny Bolario

    What are your deal breakers? Could you be with someone who doesn’t recycle?
    On Valentine’s Day, our teen journalists share the traits they couldn’t tolerate in a significant other.

  • Youth Radio Raw: Turnt Up Station Episode 4

    by Youth Radio Raw

    Welcome to the 4th episode of Turnt Up Station on Youth Radio Raw.
    Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35
    On this show, you’ll hear recent news, personal experiences, and a diverse selection of music.
    Youth Radio Raw is a weekly radio show produced by Bay Area high schoolers, ages 14-18. Students partner with professionals to learn the basics of journalism, music production, and multimedia.
    For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.
    Check out live tweets of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw and @yr_raw on Instagram.

  • A Handy Glossary of Political Factions in the 21st Century

    by Noah Nelson

    Illustrations: Desmond Meagley
    What’s the difference between a liberal and a progressive? Is Black Bloc a group? What the heck does alt-right mean anyway?
    We’ve put together this little guide to help you figure out Who’s Who in the streets and on the web. Now mind you: these are up for debate and are by no means exhaustive. We’ve tried to line up the historical philosophies with those who are making a splash in the news, providing a bit of context as you try to keep your head above water in the daily flood of news.
    Think of this glossary of activists types as thumbnails to get you started in your own quest to understand an often confusing culture.
    Illustration: Desmond Meagley
    On The Far Left

    Anarchists – Most people associate the word “anarchy” with chaos. The actual philosophy is simple: anarchists reject hierarchy on principle, which means they don’t dig governments. There are a variety of “flavors” of anarchists, but a core mistrust of authority is the common thread.

    Black Bloc – Not a faction but a tactic. Usually a tool of Anarchist and Anti-Fascist groups, and is also popular with any group looking to evade identification by the police. The appearance of a Black Bloc group at a protest doesn’t necessarily mean there will be property destruction or violence, but it can be a sign that is to come.

    Anti-Fascists (Antifa): like it says on the box: these people don’t like fascism.  Antifa usually indicates those who are willing to take direct, sometimes violent, action against members of the far right. Organized Antifa groups can represent a spectrum of beliefs, bound together against their common foe that sometimes includes the police.

    Communists – In the U.S., communism has a deep association with the Soviet Union, but Soviet-style communism is just one branch. The USSR was more of a state-focused version of socialism with a totalitarian bent. In the U.S., the current Communist Party promotes labor issues, socialism, and like others on the left, is actively organizing against the Trump administration. While often thought of as anti-capitalist, in China the Communist Party effectively runs a hybrid of socialism and capitalism, and has the second largest economy in the world.

    Socialists – The big idea of socialism is that the economy should be subject to social control. That usually means state ownership of the means of production as opposed to the private ownership under capitalism. However, fuzzier forms of socialism have long been part of the fabric of the United States (Medicare, Social Security). Self-identified socialists tend to gravitate to the more strict forms.

    Greens – The Greens have four big concerns: ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. While the Green Party is often portrayed by Democrats as a “spoiler” in electoral races, they are the home for progressives who don’t like the Democrats’ relationship to Wall Street or military policies.

    Illustration: Desmond Meagley
    On The Left

    Democratic Socialists – Taking inspiration from European countries where democracy and socialism usually get along (universal healthcare, free college education), Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign brought the ideals into vogue in the United States. Democratic Socialists may align with the Democratic Party or see themselves, like Sanders, as a political independent. A few years ago, this group would have been seen as being on the far left, but Millennials and activists have changed that.

    Progressives – The label “progressive” came back into vogue in the late-90’s after conservative talk radio turned “liberal” into a kind of political slur. As a hard and fast rule progressives are a bit more eager to pursue stronger stances on a wider range of issues than self-described liberals, but in practice the two terms are used interchangeably. Within the ranks of progressives you will find activists from Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and those who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    Liberals – Liberalism is a philosophy of liberty and equality. The term is broadly used to describe the mainstream political left, and is identified–for good or ill–with the Democratic party. For most of the 20th Century that meant a coalition of labor and civil rights activists, although after the 1980s the party shifted to the right due to the popularity of Republican President Ronald Reagan.

    Neoliberals – Liberty + Equality + Wall Street, with a dash of the military industrial complex thrown in. Politicians that run with neoliberal ideas also tend to be more willing to resort to the use of military force than others on the left. Although technically speaking this would make them neoconservatives.

    Illustration: Desmond Meagley
    On The Right

    Neo-Conservatives – Originally a term adopted by some “hawkish” Democrats way back in the 1960s who weren’t happy with the way their party was conducting foreign policy. They ultimately abandoned the party and became an ideological force within the GOP. From the outside, it can be hard to tell the difference between “neocons” and neoliberals, until you get down to their social policies.

    Conservatives – At its core conservatism is about holding onto the way things “just are.”  Most often conservatives believe in free markets and limited government. Socially they tend to emphasize Judeo-Christian values, and a sense of personal responsibility. The term is generally identified with the Republican Party.

    Alt-Right – Compared to traditional far-right groups the alt-right is younger, more internet savvy, and has fewer issues about gay people. It’s hard to say how much of the later is due to the celebrity status of alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Alt-right figures played prominent roles in the GamerGate controversy of 2014. A few years ago, this group would have been seen as being on the far right, but Donald Trump’s embrace of Steve Bannon has changed that. Before becoming a White House Senior Advisor Bannon positioned the news site Breitbart as a home for the “alt-right” while it was under his control.

    Illustration: Desmond Meagley
    On The Far Right

    Fascists – A form of state power that doesn’t shy away from the use of force to achieve its goals either at home or abroad. That tends to mean the use of police powers, military action, and the curtailing of democratic rights. Might makes right, essentially.

    White Nationalists/Supremacists – These groups hold that white people deserve power because they are the victors of history. Cultural diversity is seen as an active threat. You’ll find groups like the Ku Klux Klan here.  

    Traditionalists – The most active groups claiming the label “traditionalist” resemble white nationalists in form and function. Where things get interesting is on the intellectual side. There you will find Julius Evola, an Italian thinker from the early 20th century who contributed to the philosophy of fascism. He sought to establish a society that was organized around myth and ritual, and was firmly against democracy. Evola is, according to reports, a favorite thinker of Steve Bannon.

    Neo-Nazis- While “neo,” the Latin for “new,” is in the name, there’s nothing fresh about these guys: they’re Nazis. Hopefully, you remember them from history class/the movies.


    Libertarians – While there is a Libertarian Party in the U.S. the basic philosophy is that government should just let people do what they want. You’ll find both strident free-market voices and drug legalization advocates adopting the term. These days there seem to be more publically right-leaning libertarians, including Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky.

  • Debating Free Speech on College Campuses

    by Shawn Wen

    The debate over free speech versus hate speech on college campuses has been going on for years. It was reignited recently in the wake of campus visits by right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News, which sparked protests and a cancellation of his speech at UC Berkeley.
    We asked editors of 20 college newspapers from around the country to weigh in on free speech on their campus. We only got four responses. (Maybe a sign it’s still a sensitive topic?)
    Here are their responses from editors in New York, Tennessee, Georgia and California.

    Josh Hamburger
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
    Vanderbilt Hustler
    According to polling we have done at the Vanderbilt Hustler in the past, the campus appears to lean toward the left politically. The dominant conversation often arises from this side, which in turn causes more criticism for people who speak with more right-leaning opinions.
    So while I believe that free speech exists on campus, we probably are not hearing as much from the political right on issues because they are in the minority. However, the criticism people may receive — from both sides — is itself an aspect of free speech and should be welcomed. The balance may be off-centered on campus, but that is free speech as much as anything else.

    Danni Wong
    University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
    Daily Trojan
    As a student journalist, my instinct is to defend free speech, as it is the chief pillar of free press. I look at our campus, which has not been historically known for its activism, and I celebrate the student voices ignited by the new presidential administration. I also jump to protect the voices I do not personally agree with — the ones that promote the current president’s hateful rhetoric — in an attempt to reach across the aisle.

    Justin Mattingly
    Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
    The Daily Orange
    Free speech has been a pressing issue at Syracuse for the past few years. In the fall of 2014, a coalition of student organizations held an 18-day sit-in in the university’s administration building, protesting a number of causes, including diversity, sexual assault resources and inclusiveness.
    When some of the protesters were delivered highlighted copies of the code of conduct, it immediately triggered a conversation about free speech and the rights of protesters on a college campus with functioning activism. A working group on free speech was assembled and some of its recommendations have taken effect. The university still holds a speech code rating of Red, as determined by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

    Sidney Park
    Savannah College of Art & Design Atlanta, GA
    The Connector
    I believe this publication and this campus respect the perspectives of students…but the idea that freedom of speech protects you from criticism and public reproach is outlandish and misinformed.
    We have many differing perspectives on campus,  and regardless of their party affiliation — whether Republican, Democrat, or third party — every student on campus feels comfortable expressing their views. They also feel free to debate openly among their peers, and are critical of each other’s perspectives in a way that promotes discussion and new ideas.
    Are you an editor of a campus newspaper and want to weigh in on this debate, tweet us @YouthRadio.