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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.

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Towards a Book

Howard Gardner - July 15, 2019 - 10:39am

As readers of this blog are aware, we have for seven years been carrying out an ambitious national study of higher education. For the last year and a half, we have been busy—analyzing data, writing dozens of blogs, giving occasional talks. We believe that we could write hundreds of blogs, scores of articles, several books—but life is short, and we want to get the most important messages out, efficiently and effectively.

Toward that end, we have had good conversations with our wonderful team of researchers and also with friends and advisers. A recent conversation with colleague Andrew (Andy) Delbanco crystallized our conundrum—What to do and how to do it?

Drawing on decades of writing fine books and powerful articles, Andy said, “You can’t really progress unless you answer two questions: What is the story/narrative that you want to tell? And to whom do you want to tell it—who is the audience?”

Paradoxically, we have been doing this for some time—without quite realizing it. But when in the past we had in effect followed Andy’s advice, we had done so for specific audiences with clear parameters. To use the most vivid example, in January 2019, Howard gave a set of three lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, his home institution. Of course, he knew the audience: friends, colleagues, and students. Howard could presuppose some interest in the topic, or at least in his perspective on it. He also knew he had approximately three hours spread over a week, plus another hour or so for questions and answers. (Wendy was present throughout and answered some of the most challenging questions.)

The lecture series—however it came off to others—broke down into three sessions: 1) What we did and how we did it: 2) What we found; and 3) What it means. This approach has worked well enough that, despite various nuances, both of us have used it in subsequent presentations to various audiences.

However, over the last year, two facets have changed. First of all, we found that once one reports a social science finding, audiences can almost invariably explain the result—indeed, explain it away. So instead, of beginning with results, we instead begin with questions, and, as appropriate, ask the audience to anticipate what we found. For example, we ask: What’s the biggest issue on campuses? What books do individuals value? What do various constituents think about the purpose of college? Seeking to answer these questions, audiences learn how far from the mark they typically are; this state of affairs increases their attention and, with luck, their respect for what we have accomplished.

Second (and this is why we have avoided high-stakes presentations, or interviews with the media), our initial impressions have not always been borne out by more careful analysis of the data. Accordingly, we have now changed—or at least nuanced—some of the previous headlines from the study.

So returning to the two questions posed by Andy Delbanco, here are our current answers:

The story: There are many problems with, and complaints about, higher education in the United States. There are also admirable aspects. More than seven years ago, we decided to act in the manner of physicians—looking for the various ailments among the various constituencies. Specifically, the constituencies that we interviewed across a wide range of public and private campuses included incoming students, graduating students, faculty, senior administrators, parents, alumni/ae and job recruiters—a total of over 2000 interviews! We sought to determine the pressures and symptoms across these constituencies as clearly and reliably as possible. We then identified and studied evidence-based therapies for those ailments—with the goal of helping higher education become a healthier and more valuable (and more valued) sector of our society.

The audience: We begin with the goal of addressing individuals most involved in higher education. This includes the range of constituencies whom we interviewed—from students and faculty to administrators and job recruiters—as well as any other individuals or groups that have a stake in higher education (which would include legislators at the local, state, and national levels). If we are fortunate, and the narrative that we create is powerful and effective, we also aspire to reach the broader reading public—often called the “intelligent lay reader”—as well as those who read or listen to popular accounts of books that aspire to “change the conversation.”

Of course, on their own, these words sound either grandiose (who do Wendy and Howard think they are?) or self-evident (every research-based book has a narrative structure—ranging from subtle to sledge hammer). The proof will be in our execution—which we hope will be drafted in the next year and published shortly thereafter.

© 2019 Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner

Categories: Blog

Opinion: Let’s Talk About Race and the U.S. Women’s National Team

Youth Radio - July 5, 2019 - 8:00am

As an obsessed fan who played soccer for over a decade, I’ve spent the summer closely following the Women’s World Cup, which wraps up this Sunday. But one thing has been preventing me from rooting for the United States: the team has so little racial diversity.

Only a small handful of the USWNT are not white.

While the rest of the U.S. has been caught up in World Cup mania — buying jerseys with “Morgan” emblazoned across the back or obsessively tracking President Donald Trump’s tweets directed at Megan Rapinoe — I’ve been watching from the fringes. 

Don’t get me wrong: I have so much respect for the USWNT. They’ve won four Olympic Gold Medals and three World Cup Championships. On top of that, they’re fighting for equal pay, showing that women in every field (literal and figurative) face gender discrimination.

I grew up playing soccer with girls of every racial and ethnic background. Sometimes I’d play against teams that spoke exclusively Spanish. My own team had a huge jumble of black, Latina, Asian, white, and mixed-race players.

A photo of my soccer team from 2013 shows how diverse youth soccer can be in certain parts of the country. (Photo courtesy of Sierra Fang-Horvath)

When I tuned into the highly-anticipated U.S. vs. France game last Friday, I was shocked and thought to myself: only one black player — defender Crystal Dunn — in the starting line up?

Granted, I played soccer in California, which is one of the most diverse states in the country. I don’t expect teams from other parts of the U.S. to look the way mine did. But the U.S. is 60.4% white. That means two out of every five Americans is not white — the USWNT is far from that diverse.

The lack of diversity is even more noticeable when my friends and I compared the USWNT with other national teams at the World Cup, especially host France, knocked out by the U.S. in the quarterfinals.

The USWNT faced off against France in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, and the diversity differences were glaring. (Photo: Naomi Baker – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The issue of diversity in U.S. soccer — not just on the USWNT, but at every level of the sport — is starting to grab more people’s attention. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Dunn talks about how expensive soccer can be: “You’re traveling to all these tournaments, the equipment is expensive, [and] being part of a club you have to pay all these fees. That’s where we kind of have it backwards in the U.S.” Dunn said she was oftentimes the only black player on her team. And in 2018, former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo called soccer a “rich, white kid sport.”

There’s more diversity on the #USWNT — but there’s still a long way to go, @elindsay08 explains:https://t.co/Y638kO8x6t pic.twitter.com/oURDkfKhZM

— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) July 2, 2019

This question of access and affordability strikes at the heart of the issue. I know the lack of diversity in the USWNT can’t be blamed on the players. My parents shelled out more than $3,000 a year to pay for my travel, soccer gear, and coaches, all so that I could play the sport I love. And even though I played in a league that had a lot of racial diversity, we all came from families who could afford the expenses.

When the U.S was playing against Thailand, I was texting one of my former teammates, and she said something that really stuck with me: “U.S. soccer [has] literally terrible structure! You know all those players are mostly suburban soccer girls and they’re all super good but they’re not the only soccer talent out there!”

Our experience playing youth soccer has shown us that there is a lot of other talent out there. Right now, the USWNT only represents a small — and very white — slice.

The post Opinion: Let’s Talk About Race and the U.S. Women’s National Team appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Putting The “I” in Independence

Youth Radio - July 3, 2019 - 9:00am

Have you ever gone somewhere you haven’t been in a while and it just feels … different? Like when you go back to your elementary school and notice all the small changes, replay a bunch of memories in your head, and know that being there will never be the same?

That’s how I feel where I am now — in my parents’ house, the same home I grew up in and just returned to after living solo for a year.

My folks live several miles north of Seattle and have been for my whole life (22 years and counting). Last year in 2018, I graduated from college and scored a part-time podcasting gig on the East Coast. That meant I had to leave the state known for its apples and head to THE BIG Apple: New York City.

I remember the initial excitement of not having to follow a curfew. I loved not having to hear the passive-aggressive comments my mom made about my outfits or the reminders from my dad to mow the lawn on Sundays. Even paying my own rent gave me satisfaction that I no longer needed to depend on anyone else for the way I lived. But despite feeling free, I don’t think I truly understood the magnitude of my freedom until the last 48 hours before moving back home.

I quit the job that brought me to NYC because I wanted to focus all my energy toward co-hosting Adult ISH. With less of a reason to stay (and an itch to move to California to really give the #westcoastbestcoast a chance), I figured living with my parents again would be my best option if I wanted to save up for a few months. So, I started packing, bought my plane ticket, and made my round of goodbyes. 

On my last full day, I stood on a subway platform feeling bittersweet about leaving the city where I grew so much in my journey as an independent person. I even posted about it on my Snapchat story.

Standing on the Essex Street subway platform all up in my feels, self-actualizing, and trying not to mess up my lashes on June 14, 2019. (Photo: Merk Nguyen)

I had an early flight back home but didn’t get much sleep because my mind was racing with thoughts.

Will I constantly have to prove to my parents that I’m responsible? Will they say anything that would prevent me from doing the things I actually want to do? Will I be able to stand up to them? I feared that last one the most. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find a balance between respecting my parents and respecting myself. By that, I mean knowing when to put my foot down and tending to my own needs before theirs.

Since I’ve been home for two weeks, I surprisingly haven’t felt pressures I used to feel from my parents. They don’t tell me to do the laundry or request that I be home by midnight. And while they still ask if I want to attend events with them, I no longer feel the obligation to go. There are also tiny details of the house that’ve changed (like how my mom’s rearranged furniture or used my bedroom as her second closet) but the biggest change I’ve felt is from within myself. 

I haven’t straight up asked my folks why they’re treating me differently now. But reflecting on everything, I think it’s because I’ve shown them I can make it on my own. If that’s not two Vietnamese immigrants achieving their American Dream, then I don’t know what is. What I do know is that I’m still me — just not the same exact person I was when I left.

While living away was one of the most freeing experiences in my young adult life so far, showing to my family (and myself) that I’m capable of establishing my identity as an independent person, under their roof, gives me a fresh sense of freedom that makes me truly proud.

The post Putting The “I” in Independence appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

P-Lo Breaks Down the Making of ‘Somethin’ Light’

Youth Radio - July 2, 2019 - 6:28pm

Hyphy, as coined by rapper Keak Da Sneak, is a musical movement that dominated the Bay Area in the early to mid-2000s. Although the spirit remains within the region, the movement tapered off towards the end of the decade. P-Lo is one of the few acts spearheading the spiritual movement within the Bay Area. His discography is chock-full of hyphy inspired slaps, just listen to “Put Me On Something” featuring E-40 or “Same Squad.”

Outside of providing guest verses for his friends like G-Eazy and ALLBLACK, “Somethin’ Light” is P-Lo’s first solo offering since his full-length project “PRIME” was released last July. “Somethin’ Light” contains hella mainey high-pitched singing and ballad-type hooks enveloped in hyphy and slick verses. Here, P-Lo juxtaposed love-ballads with next-generation hyphy sounds. We talked to P-Lo and he breaks down how each of the songs came together on his latest offering, “Somethin’ Light.”

Sam: Walk us through the creation of ‘Hella Fun.’ Jay Ant’s hook is so infectious, how’d that song come about?

P-Lo: We start with ‘Hella Fun,’ to me, it’s like the evolution of Bay Area music. I think it has some elements from the Bay and it has elements that bring something new and something to elevate it. I feel like someone like Jay Ant, who is a forward-mind in Bay Area music, to be on it is special. It was cool because the song had the beat for a second. And me and my manager, David Ali, went to go grab some food and I was just like thinking about the beat like on the way to go get some food, so we ate. And when I came back to the studio, Jay Ant happened to be there. I was just like, ‘Yo J, you think you could sing something.’ I had pulled up the beat and he just started saying the hook. I guess it was an idea he already had written, and I was like, ‘Bruh what if you just started singing it hella mainey.’ Like lowkey on some high strung crazy shit. That’s how the song came about. Not only as an artist but as a producer, I want to push the sonics of Bay music.

S: ‘Luh U’ is a catchy romantic ballad, tell us how that record came about. 

P: ‘Luh U’ is a song written about a friend. Written about someone I found special. All of it’s really cool. There’s different versions of that song. There was a part of the song where it’s just literally — I played those chords and built the beat out after I recorded the actual lyrics. Just catching the initial feeling from those chords is super important. On the song, it [those chords] gives you the romantic kind of lovey-dovey mood. Yeah. Then I ended up getting Bosco to do the top box on it, and Bosco is a super legend. He’s famously known for playing the talk box on Kanye’s ‘The New Workout Plan.’ They also sampled that for J. Cole’s ‘Work Out.’ [He starts singing workout] Since then, he’s made cleaner shit. But he’s that dude, Bosco, is an alien. He’s from out of this world. He’s super dope.

S: What does it mean to have Bosco on a record? 

P:  Ah man, it was an honor because he has been around everyone. From John Legend to Kanye to Drake and T-Pain, everyone. He was actually telling me, like ‘Yo man, I’ve been around Drake and I been around T-pain, Kanye, John Legend, before they were even who they were.’ and he was like, ‘Yeah man, I got a good feeling about you.’ I feel like someone who’s like been around those people and been around those people that are creative geniuses, you know what I’m saying. Just for him to be like, ‘I have a good feeling about you,’ is a rite of passage — an affirmation. So yeah I know that I’m just in the right place and that’s where I was supposed to be at that time.

S: How did you and Bosco meet?

P: My engineer was like, ‘Yeah I know the dude that plays talk box’ because I’ve been looking for somebody who does it. My engineer, Miggy, was like ‘Yeah, I know somebody, he’s some OG dude named Bosco.’ So I followed bro on the gram hella long ago. I ended up hitting him up on the gram ‘Yo, you in L.A. anytime soon? I wanna get in with you and do some stuff.’

S: ‘Type Beat.’ What were you trying to prove with that record?

P: Oh bro, this is the record that really got a story for sure. So one of my patnas, I’ve known him for years, I’m not even gonna call him out but he’s one of my great friends. I live in L.A., so he visits me every once in a while. We were just catching up, whatever, alright. He played a song and I’m asked, ‘Who did this beat?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know bruh. I found it on YouTube. I just searched P-Lo type beats because you wasn’t giving me any beats. So I went on YouTube and found one.’ I was like damn, that’s fucked up. I was damn near taken aback. I was like, ‘Damn bruh, you just gonna go around me?’ But I wasn’t even mad like damn this is a really good type beat because the song slaps.

Maya: That’s crazy because you have a sound that defined that you can go on YouTube and search ‘P-Lo type beat.’ You’re at that point; you’ve created a whole lane.

P: I mean, that’s an honor itself.

S: So what happened after that?

P: After I found out the song slaps. I just went to the studio and I started making a beat and rapping, ‘This ain’t no type beat.’ I just started going but that’s where the whole inspiration for the song came from. The feeling that I got from that moment. I asked myself how do I capture that and put that into the song. Songs are just like moments that happen in your life and you’ve got to somehow like capture it and put it into song form. 

S: I guess, piggybacking off that, what does ‘Somethin’ Light’ mean to you?

P: Yeah, I haven’t released anything since last July. As far as project-wise, I just wanted to give people ‘Somethin’ Light’ before the actual thing comes. Something light is, you know, it’s not too forced. Just something light, something for you, it’s a light blessing. It’s not too overbearing, just something light.

The post P-Lo Breaks Down the Making of ‘Somethin’ Light’ appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Video: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?

Youth Radio - July 2, 2019 - 5:43pm

Cornrows, box braids, and dreadlocks are nothing new, but when non-Black celebrities adopt these hairstyles they are seen as trendsetters. Are some celebrities cultural appropriating or appreciating? Watch Kiarra and Nyge discuss this heated topic.

The post Video: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation? appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

Youth Radio - July 2, 2019 - 3:29pm

Things are constantly changing in the music industry landscape and it’s important to stay on top of trends and news updates, especially as an independent artist. We’ve got you covered with a weekly recap of the top stories you need to know.

Drake Out of YMCMB Deal

After years of being stuck in his YMCMB deal, Drake is finally free! He will still be under Republic Records, but from here on out his label will be listed as Frozen Moments/Republic instead of YMCMB/Republic. Drake hinted at the cutting of ties on his last album “Scorpion” with the lyrics, “soon as this album drop I’m out of the deal.”

Spotify Demands Refunds from Publishers and Writers, Claims They Overpaid Royalties

According to a statement made to Music Business Worldwide by a Spotify representative, Spotify overpaid most publishers in 2018. Spotify claims they’re owed millions from royalty payments made to many songwriters and publishers, and they want their bandz back. Apparently, they aren’t seeking payment immediately… let’s see how this one plays out.

Labels and Artists Expected to Lose Up to $300M to Fake Streams

According to new reports from Rolling Stone, labels and artists will lose about $300 million in “potential revenue” to fake streaming. Hopeless Records founder Louis Posen recalls peeping suspicious activity after a song that the label released received 35,000 streams a day for three straight days back-to-back.  Many in the music industry are concerned with streams potentially coming from fake users/bots, as it’s becoming a growing problem.

“Old Town Road” Producer Young Kio Signs Pub Deal with UMPG

Producer Young Kio, who was responsible for producing the hit single “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X has decided to sign a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group. The producer uploaded a picture to Instagram posted up with UMPG VP Walter Jones, widely known producer Cash Money AP, Def Jam EVP Steven Victor, and attorney Jess Rosen.

Tupac Estate and Others Suing UMG over Lost Masters in 2008 Fire

Last Friday a lawsuit was filed against Universal Music Group on behalf of Tupac Shakur over a 2008 fire that destroyed about 500,000 master recordings located in the company’s archive vaults. Pac’s estate is hoping to receive half of any settlement cash and insurance payments collected by UMG. UMG’s insurance claims and legal proceedings are valued at $150 million according to the lawsuit. The complaint states, “UMG did not share any of its recoveries with Plaintiffs, the artists whose life works were destroyed in the fire…Plaintiffs are entitled to 50% of those proceeds and payments.”

The post 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Immigration Activist Sara Mora Talks Trump and Social Media

Youth Radio - July 1, 2019 - 1:34pm

Sara Mora has always been an activist. At only ten years old, she was engaged in her local church — later becoming a leader at her high school, where she sparked conversations about the importance of female role models.

But in 2017, when the Trump Administration decided to discontinue the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), she hit a breaking point. Mora decided “to come out publicly as undocumented” — a decision that would soon make her a renowned figure in the immigrant community.

Now 22, Mora is a prominent community organizer and social media influencer. Besides her work with Make the Road New Jersey, a political advocacy organization, she serves as co-president for the Women’s March Youth branch, overseeing hundreds of chapters across the United States. In 2017, she met with senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez to discuss the DACA recision.

Mora uses Twitter and Instagram to run social media campaigns on immigrant rights — the latter of which has cultivated a following of over 155,000. She appeared at the Teen Vogue Summit 2018, and has been featured on Telemundo, CNN and Elle Magazine.

YR Media’s James Wellemeyer talked with Mora to discuss her advocacy work, social media activism and the 2020 presidential race.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

James Wellemeyer: You’re an immigration rights activist. How did you get into this work? What motivates you to stay in the work?

Sara Mora: I got into this work because, being undocumented, I saw that the best way for me to fight for my family and community was by actively educating myself and fighting for dignity and respect. The work is nowhere near done.

JW: When you began your work as an activist, were you ever concerned about speaking out given your DACA status?

SM: Speaking out was always a risk. When you grow up feeling like you have to speak out for the sake and health of the people you love, you don’t think twice about taking risks.

JW: When you hear Trump make announcements on immigration policy now, what is your reaction? Are you still frustrated and upset, or is it a feeling of numbness?

SM: Trump’s announcements are like that sound of nails scratching the wall. It’s all levels of cringe — but he is also just one person, part of a larger system of oppression. I am numb, yet I am motivated to continue to fight a system that does not take breaks.

JW: You recently took a trip to the southern border. What did that trip mean to you, and what did you learn?

SM: This trip was re-energizing in the most traumatic way. It was a reminder that immigration reform is needed at all levels, because comprehensive immigration reform is needed for those entering the country and those within the system. I learned about the unity and power that exists near the border.

JW: A lot of your work is done through social media. How powerful is social media for your work?

SM: While it seems that a lot of my work is on social media, it isn’t. The community that I have online is only a small reflection of the work I’ve done as an organizer on the ground. Having this platform allows me to amplify resources, messages of hope and truly create a community of changemakers online.

JW: What campaigns are you working on now?

SM: I am launching a campaign/movement online and in real life, #WhoIsOur2020, which will be a national conversation on presidential candidates and on what we need for presidential candidates to pay close attention to and address.

The post Immigration Activist Sara Mora Talks Trump and Social Media appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Getting My Driver’s License Came with More Burden than Freedom

Youth Radio - June 30, 2019 - 8:00am

I was stoked when I got my driver’s license. When I passed the test, I sent my friends a Snapchat message, “Road trip anyone? #Licensed!” But then the responsibility of driving hit me.

I had a vision for my life with a car. I know it sounds cheesy, but I pictured my friends and I with the windows rolled down, music blasting, and hands in the air.

Then my mom left town for a week! No mom and a car — sounds like the best thing to have ever happened to me, right? Wrong.

I became a chauffeur for my friends, and when we were out partying, I wound up as the designated driver. I had to pay for gas. And worst of all , I got a one hundred and ten dollar parking ticket. I sat in the driver’s seat and cried, before moving the car.

It’s funny, how fast this privilege became a burden. For years, I fantasized about the freedom of driving. But now, the responsibilities of it are weighing me down. And I’m beginning to wonder if the rest of adulthood will be similarly bittersweet.

The post Getting My Driver’s License Came with More Burden than Freedom appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Five Highlights from Second Round of the Democratic Debate

Youth Radio - June 28, 2019 - 2:48pm

Wow. Just wow. 

Wednesday night’s debate was tame compared to Thursday’s round two. With more star-power than the previous night, Thursday’s line-up pitted key players against one another.

Senator Kamala Harris dominated the stage, while Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden were shockingly docile. 

While similar issues were discussed, including climate change, immigration, and health care, our five key takeaways are very different from night one of the Democratic debate. 

Harris was far-and-away the star of Thursday night

Harris emerged as Thursday’s obvious superstar. Entering the debate as the fourth-best polling candidate, Harris was looking for a much-needed boost, and she might’ve gotten it.

She appeared calm and prepared amidst yelling and interruptions. When cross-stage arguing reached a fever pitch, Harris firmly interjected, “America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.” Viewers at home may have cringed, but the Miami audience loved it.

Harris also engaged in a contentious spat with Biden, criticizing him for his past support of anti-integration bills (see #2). In return, Biden called her out for her history as a criminal prosecutor.

It’s still unclear whether Harris can catch up to the frontrunners, but she definitely gained some momentum.

Another surprising star to emerge: activist, humanitarian, and entrepreneur Marianne Williamson, who was on basically nobody’s radar before Thursday. Her off-beat performance made her blow up on social media. Perhaps it was her melodramatic closing remarks, or because she called the New Zealand prime minister “girlfriend,” but she’s now an internet sensation.

If the 2016 election taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. So don’t write her off just yet. 

Biden stumbled as fellow candidates took aim

Entering the debates, Biden was polling the best among all Democratic candidates, making him a target. And his fellow candidates did not pull punches, forcing the former VP onto the defensive.

The night’s most dramatic moment came when Harris directly addressed Biden, calling for him to renounce his past opposition to busing, a desegregation practice that allowed black students to commute to once all-white schools. Harris herself was a beneficiary of busing in Berkeley, California, and she’s already gone viral with her quote, “There was a little girl in California who was bussed to school. That little girl was me.”

Other candidates also made overt and subtle jabs at Biden. Sanders jumped at an opportunity to highlight his personal history of voting against the Iraq War in 2003, while Biden voted for it. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose platform centers on women’s rights, denounced the Hyde Amendment, from which Biden only just recently withdrew his support. The 1977 provision blocks federal funding for abortions. Although Gillibrand never mentioned Biden specifically, she was clearly trying to contrast her support of reproductive justice with Biden’s spotty past on the topic.

No beating around the bush: Biden and Sanders are old

Four decades separate the oldest candidates — Biden (age 76) and Sanders (age 77) — from the youngest ones.

Congressman Eric Swalwell, 38, one of the youngest candidates, repeatedly pressed Biden and Sanders to “pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.” Both he and Harris emphasized that by the time Biden had entered politics, they were still just students.

Meanwhile, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is 37 and the youngest candidate, said, “Help me deliver [the] new generation to Washington before it’s too late.”

The generational debate has plagued the Democratic Party for a while, and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in 2020.

President Donald Trump’s name was thrown around a lot more on Thursday night

Trump was rarely mentioned during the first debate, but Thursday night was filled with denouncements of the administration.

Biden basically used his entire closing statement to call out Trump, saying that the President has “ripped out… the soul of this nation.”

Sanders also passionately criticized Trump, calling the president a “phony,” a “pathological liar” and a “racist.” Meanwhile, other candidates condemned the administration’s practice of family separation at the border, which Williamson called “state-sponsored crimes.” Other criticisms targeted Trump’s tax policy, failure to condemn neo-Nazis and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords.

Race, practically undiscussed on Wednesday, played a prominent role in Thursday’s debate

Harris and Biden’s spat centered on race, but that wasn’t all.

Buttigieg was asked about the recent fatal shooting of Eric Logan, a black man, killed by a police officer in South Bend, Indiana, where Buttigieg is mayor. The officer’s body camera was turned off. Buttigieg recently took a break from campaigning to address the tragedy, but residents have raised concerns about how he’s handled it.

The mayor has been polling low with black voters, which is a problem considering African Americans make up a significant portion of Democratic voters.

Swalwell then called on Buttigieg to fire the police chief for failing to enforce body camera rules. Buttigieg responded with a withering glare but stayed silent.

Meanwhile, Williamson added her own two cents, saying that “the Democratic Party should be on the side of reparations for slavery” to address deeply-seated racism and injustice.

That concludes our five key takeaways from Thursday night’s debate, which differed from Wednesday night in both content and tone. We’re 220 days from the first Democratic primary (a caucus, technically, in Iowa) and 493 days away from Election Day 2020. 

Between now and then, things are bound to get even more dramatic.

The post Five Highlights from Second Round of the Democratic Debate appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Five Takeaways from the First Night of the Democratic Debate

Youth Radio - June 27, 2019 - 4:40pm

As we get ready for night two of the Democratic debate, some of us are still reeling from Wednesday’s round one. 

From Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker’s choppy Spanish to Amy Klobuchar’s reference to “my Uncle Dick and his deer stand” when speaking on gun control … the first night had it all.

In case you were too busy to watch the debate, or just didn’t have the emotional energy to commit, here are five key takeaways from the first night of the Democratic debate.

Warren was center-stage, literally and metaphorically. But did you expect these two underdogs to shine?

Entering the debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren was polling the best among Wednesday’s candidates — but still behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, who go on Thursday. So it’s no shocker that she got lots of speaking time.

But two candidates surprisingly stood out: former Housing Secretary under the Obama administration Julián Castro and Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. 

Google searches about Castro spiked 2,400% during the debate. He spoke passionately about numerous issues, and his statement about reproductive justice endeared him to progressives. He also had some spicy one-liners — among them: “On January 20, 2021, we’ll say adios to Donald Trump.” 

Meanwhile, interest in Gabbard surged nationally. She’s controversial among Democrats, some of whom criticize her for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and for her past anti-LGBTQ stances. Her history will undoubtedly reemerge later on, as will those of other candidates (including Biden’s abortion stances and Senator Kamala Harris’s history as San Francisco District Attorney).

Dems Divided on Health Care

Warren raised her hand high when the candidates were asked, “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” She was one of 15 co-sponsors for the Medicare-for-All Act of 2019. This plan would abolish private health insurance in exchange for a single-payer system. This idea is popular among young voters: most Gen Z/Millennial voters support providing Medicare for every American, according to data from Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company.

Meanwhile, others prefer a more incremental approach. Many prefer offering a public option to those who can’t afford private insurance while allowing those who like their private plans to keep them. As former Congressman John Delaney said, “I think we should be the party that keeps what’s working and fixes what’s broken.” 

The health care discussion spiraled into a shouting match. The tension shows just how divided Dems are when it comes to fixing health care.

Bipartisanship Will be a Dilemma for the Nominee

No one really had an answer for the question “Do you have a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell …  if he’s still sitting there as the Senate Majority Leader?” This will be a problem further down the line, especially given how partisan politics has become. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, they’ll face a huge decision if elected president: should they lean into the Democratic Party and pass bills on a party basis, further fueling partisanship? Or should they try to reach across the aisle and work in a bipartisan manner, risking blowback from liberal supporters?

To Impeach or not to Impeach…

There was a question about impeachment, but surprisingly, no one had much to say. Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke stated, “We must begin impeachment now so that we have the facts and the truth.” Delaney countered that, “This is not the number-one issue the American people ask us about.” Few other candidates added anything.

This comes at a time when over half of Americans support a continued investigation or some form of punitive action against Trump based on the Mueller report, though not necessarily via impeachment. As campaigning continues, candidates better formulate clearer stances on impeachment. Voters are divided on it, and it’s a topic that’s not going away.

Gun control unites the candidates

In a show of unity, the candidates agreed that comprehensive gun reform is needed. This is an issue that strikes at the heart of young voters, especially as youth activism for gun reform has spiked following the Parkland shooting.

Many — including Warren and O’Rourke — cited common sense gun reforms they would support as president. Their proposals included banning assault weapons (“weapons of war,” as O’Rourke described them), conducting background checks, and initiating buy-back programs.

Booker also spoke passionately about gun control, tying in his experiences as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He also criticized inaction on the issue, saying, “I’m tired of hearing people, all they have to offer is thoughts and prayers.”

That wraps up our five key takeaways from the first night of the Democratic debates. And remember: we get to do it all over again tonight! Grab some popcorn… the saga continues.

How to Watch 

TV: NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo

Time: 9-11 p.m. EST

Online: nbcnews.com, NBC app, Telemundo, NBC News’ Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, 

Candidates for tonight’s debate:

Joe Biden, Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

The post Five Takeaways from the First Night of the Democratic Debate appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Hey Dems: 5 Issues We’re Listening for at Tonight’s Debate

Youth Radio - June 26, 2019 - 12:16pm

With the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates set to square off in their first debate tonight and Thursday, young voters hope the issues they care about will get some attention. 

Twenty of the 24 candidates are set to take the stage — a mix of high-profile politicians and those polling in the single digits, from Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to Andrew Yang and Representative Tulsi Gabbard. The debate will be televised from Miami over two nights. To qualify, candidates had to score at least 1 percent in three polls approved by the Democratic National Committee or receive donations from 65,000 people plus at least 200 per state in a minimum of 20 states. 

Gen Z and Millennial voter turnout played a key role in the midterm election. Thirty-one percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted last November. That’s a 10 percent increase compared to the 2014 election, according to data from CIRCLE, a Tufts University center that studies youth civic engagement. To succeed in 2020, these candidates will need to connect with young America.

Here are five issues that young voters are waiting to hear about in this week’s debate. 

Student Debt Relief and Free College

Many young voters are either worried about paying for college or trying to repay mounting student loan debt. Just Monday, Senator Bernie Sanders announced a proposed tax on Wall Street designed to cancel $1.6 trillion in student loan debt among nearly 45 million graduates. His plan also eliminates tuition and fees at community colleges and public four-year institutions. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose “I have a plan for that” slogan is popular on social media, also supports universal free public college and the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt.  Candidates such as Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar have taken more moderate stances, criticizing the massive price of tuition-free college and complete debt cancellation.

Most agree that higher education should be easier to afford, although they differ in their approaches on student debt relief and the cost of a four-year college.

Climate Change and the Green New Deal

In 2019, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal, a bold piece of legislation designed to reverse America’s impact on the climate crisis. Since then, the bill has served as a litmus test for 2020 Democratic candidates. While many have rallied around its audacious approach, others have cautioned against its vague and sweeping goals. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign also puts environmental issues at the center. His proposed legislation, “A New American Climate Mission,” closely mirrors the Green New Deal, calling for 100 percent clean energy by the year 2030. Sanders is also a strong proponent of the bill and headlined the Green New Deal rally with Ocasio-Cortez in May.

While Gabbard and John Delaney have pledged their support for environmental reform, they are among the candidates who caution against the Green New Deal, critiquing its vagueness and feasibility. Most Democratic candidates hold fairly progressive stances on climate change, but it’s too early to say which proposals will resonate best with young voters. Responses to this week’s debate should offer some clues.

Healthcare for All

Just about every 2020 Democratic candidate supports universal healthcare in one way or another. But some are divided over Medicare-for-All Act of 2019, introduced by Sanders and 14 Democrats including presidential candidates Warren, Gillibrand, and Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. The plan is a single-payer health care system where the government provides insurance coverage to all Americans.

Medicare-for-All has been praised for its innovative and radically progressive approach to healthcare. It recognizes healthcare as a right, a perspective other candidates have since embraced.  Several Democrats in the 2020 presidential race support an optional Medicare buy-in — such as Delaney and Senator Michael Bennet — and have introduced their own plans to expand the current healthcare system without erasing the private insurance market.

As an issue that deeply impacts millions of Americans, young and old, universal healthcare will undoubtedly become a main issue in the Democratic primaries — and later, the general election.  

Corporate Money in Politics

In recent years, the Democratic Party has moved away from corporate funding and towards a grassroots campaign approach. This ideological shift is reflected in the new requirements to qualify for the DNC debates. Additionally, this trend is often cited as the reason why the primary field is crowded so early, as candidates need a longer campaign to raise enough grassroots funds.

Many candidates in the 2020 presidential race have already refused to accept money from corporate donors and super PACs. For example, Warren has sworn off private fundraisers with wealthy donors entirely and has proposed new restrictions on affluent lobbyists. Booker, who has also been criticized for his relationship with Wall Street especially during his 2014 senate campaign, has joined other Democrats and rejected corporate PAC money.

The Democratic Party’s shift away from corporate money connects with young voters. In 2016, many sided with candidates who disavowed wealthy donors and super PACs — and if this trend continues, many will side with those candidates in 2020. 


In the wake of recent anti-abortion laws in states such as Georgia, Missouri, and Louisiana, reproductive rights have risen to the forefront of many young voters’ consciousness and sparked nationwide conversation. 

Across the board, most Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential primaries hold relatively progressive positions on abortion. Many high-profile politicians, including former Housing and Development Secretary Julián Castro, Harris, and Klobuchar have denounced the recent anti-abortion legislation. Harris called them “shameful.” 

Biden has faced harsh criticism for his shifting positions on abortion rights. The New York Times published an article in March detailing his 1981 vote for a bill that attacked Roe v. Wade, calling his mixed opinions “a hallmark of his political career.” He only recently withdrew his support for the Hyde Amendment, which would ban federal funding for abortion — leaving low-income women without access to clinics that provide abortions.  

How to watch 

Dates: Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27

Time: 9-11 p.m. EST

TV: NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo

Online: nbcnews.com, NBC app, Telemundo, NBC News’ Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook

Debate candidates for Wednesday’s debate:

Cory Booker, Bill de Blasio, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan and Elizabeth Warren

Candidates for Thursday’s debate:

Joe Biden, Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang

The post Hey Dems: 5 Issues We’re Listening for at Tonight’s Debate appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Video: 6 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste from Beauty Products

Youth Radio - June 25, 2019 - 3:41pm

We are living in a world addicted to plastic! Here are six simple ways to reduce your plastic waste from your beauty products.

The post Video: 6 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste from Beauty Products appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Learning the True Meaning of Self Care

Youth Radio - June 25, 2019 - 11:40am

I used to think self-care meant face masks and pedicures. But after suffering a painful panic attack, I learned it’s much deeper than that.

During the second month of college, I was walking to class when I felt the right side of my body go numb. I lost feeling in one arm and half my face. I wondered, “Am I having a stroke?”

I rushed to urgent care. A doctor asked about my medical history. He confirmed it was a panic attack. He explained that under extreme stress, our bodies can mimic stroke symptoms.

Looking back at my first semester in college, I see how stressful it was. Adjusting to a new city was hard. I felt like a fish out of water. This was the first time I had been separated from my family.

Now, I’m a junior. I’ve adapted to college and my friends have become a good support system.

When I feel overwhelmed, I take time for myself. I go to my room and watch “Spider-man: Homecoming.” That always cheers me up.

Next year, I’ll graduate college — which I know will mean new and stressful situations. But this time, I’ll be more prepared.

The post Learning the True Meaning of Self Care appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

Youth Radio - June 24, 2019 - 4:53pm

Things are constantly changing in the landscape of the music industry and it’s important to stay on top of trends and news updates, especially as an independent artist. We’ve got you covered with a weekly recap of the top stories you need to know.

Taylor Swift Breaks Records on Apple Music

Taylor Swift’s latest release entitled “Lover” broke the record of most pre-adds by a female artist on Apple Music’s streaming platform with 178.6k pre-adds worldwide.

Drake Ties with the Beatles for Number of Top 10s on the Hot 100 Chart

With Drake’s recent release “No Guidance” he lands his 34th Top-10 song on the Hot 100. This put him tied with the Beatles for second-most ever Top 10s on the Hot 100 chart. 

Noname’s Health Issues Cause Her to Cancel Upcoming Tour

Due to the severity of the Chicago rapper’s ongoing health problems she made the decision to prioritize self-care and cancel her summer tour.

Google Gets Sued by Genius

The music lyric site, Genius, accused Google of “lifting” lyrics from their platform without permission by showing how their watermarked lyrics were displayed on Googles search pages. 

T.I. Works with Atlanta Church to End Mass Incarceration

T.I. has partnered with Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in a “Freedom Day Bailout” campaign. They are working to bail out underrepresented and underserved populations who can’t afford their bail. 

The post 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

¡Que Madre! Talks Mental Health with Women in Rural California

Youth Radio - June 24, 2019 - 3:09pm

Growing up in the rural eastern Coachella Valley, Olivia Rodriguez, 25, couldn’t talk openly about mental health. While she had always used writing as a coping mechanism — constantly carrying a notebook or piece of paper to write down her feelings — there wasn’t a safe space for her to have a conversation about her emotions with peers.

“Growing up, I remember there [were moments when I thought], ‘Oh, I need to talk to someone about this, but where do I go?’ Or even when I talked about it, I was like, ‘Well, what’s the next step?’ ” Rodriguez said. “The infrastructure for mental health is not fully there.”

But last summer, Rodriguez became a founding member of ¡Que Madre! Media, a storytelling collective of young women of color. Through telling their own stories, ¡Que Madre! gives its participants a platform to talk about mental health — taking steps towards destigmatizing this issue in their community.

The project started when members of Coachella Unincorporated, a youth media program in the Eastern Coachella Valley, requested a platform of their own — one that was dedicated to amplifying the voices of young women of color. Last summer, a pilot group of around 10 participants began to meet regularly. By March, the group had grown to 40 consistent members and had connected with 70 young women in total.

Rodriguez has been part of Coachella Unincorporated since 2015, and was thrilled to help create a space for young women to talk about mental health. She’s seen how the dialogue sparked by ¡Que Madre! has made these conversations more accessible.

“It’s really inspiring to know that the message that ¡Que Madre! instills in young women is [that] we are creators and we are worthy of telling our own stories,” Rodriguez said.

Members of the project are able to share their stories through diverse mediums, including audio pieces, illustrations, and poetry. They also run social media campaigns on Instagram, sharing their perspectives on mental health in both English and Spanish.

Photos from one of ¡Que Madre!’s social media campaigns, where participants described how and why they cope with mental health issues.

Rodriguez helped decide on the name ¡Que Madre!. In Spanish, the phrase “que padre” means “how cool.” However, when “padre” is replaced with the feminine “madre”, the expression turns into an insult.

Rodriguez and other founding members saw ¡Que Madre! as a powerful reclamation of a typically offensive phrase. It also serves as a commentary on how women and mothers are treated in their community.

To use the name ¡Que Madre!, Rodriguez said, was to say, “You know what, women can be seen in this positive light — as this source of empowerment. And we also are creating this space for us. So why not just have [it] in the title?”

There are not many mental health resources in the eastern Coachella Valley that provide culturally competent care for the largely Latinx community, according to Rodriguez, such as having bilingual doctors. ¡Que Madre! fosters partnerships with mental health professionals, bridging the gap between advocacy and accessible resources for their members.

Rodriguez has since graduated from the program and is now a mentor for the group. She says she looks up to the writers she mentors and the pride they take in telling their own stories is inspiring. “Even having that space, knowing that it’s there in the valley for younger generations … brings me a lot of hope.”

The post ¡Que Madre! Talks Mental Health with Women in Rural California appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Lifelong Learning and Learned Societies

Howard Gardner - June 24, 2019 - 9:28am

by Howard Gardner

Even if you are involved in education, you may know very little about academic learned societies. Perhaps you have heard about the Royal Society (London), or the National Academy of Sciences (Washington). And you may even have heard of the American Academy of Arts and Science in Cambridge (to which I am fortunate to belong), though I doubt that you have heard of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia (to which I also am fortunate to belong).

If I were going to caricature these learned societies—often called academies—I’d say that they are composed of accomplished scholars who have been elected to an honorary group and who now congratulate themselves for this honor. The mean age in such societies is very high (60-70 or more) and, in Western societies, the membership is overwhelmingly white, male, and coming from a few elite institutions. (Alas, I fit the profile all too well.) I am reminded of what physicist Richard Feynmann allegedly quipped: “I don’t want to belong to an organization whose main purpose is to keep other people out”; or what comedian Groucho Marx supposedly said: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

But there are other important features about the aforementioned societies. The National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society study complex scientific issues; compose reports carefully; and, as appropriate, make recommendations that represent the consensus of the team that prepared these materials. The American Philosophical Society awards about 200 fellowships a year to worthy scholars, most of them young; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences commissions studies on a wide range of topics, issues reports that are comprehensive and clear, and also published Daedalus, a wide-ranging quarterly. Learned societies bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines and specialties; these gatherings enrich the intellectual lives of members and, in the best scenarios, draw on this breadth in their subsequent scholarly work and in their communications with students and with the broader public.

For the most part, these learned societies remain below the radar screen and are pleased to do so. They’d prefer to be private and prestigious, rather than public and controversial. The mix of self-congratulation, periodic meetings, and public good seems about right.

But not since the Enlightenment, two centuries ago, has the pursuit of knowledge, of truth, of objective and disinterested study been as much under attack, across both developed and developing nations. We discern these disturbing trends in the vocal critiques of colleges and universities, the challenges to scientific consensus on topics like climate change, the administering of vaccines, and even Darwinian evolution. As one interested in education across all levels, and convinced of the importance of scholarship within and across the disciplines, I find this situation most disturbing—indeed alarming.

For these reasons, I welcomed the chance to attend a meeting with leaders of over 20 learned societies from around the world—ranging from Australia and India to Estonia and Peru. While I don’t occupy a leadership role in any such organization, I am an enthusiastic member of the American Philosophical Society, which hosted the gathering, and so I was allowed to attend as a mostly silent observer.

In due course, a skilled rapporteur will provide a summary of the two days of discussions. Conversation encompassed a wide range of topics, including criteria for membership (expulsion was not discussed), sources of funding, communication of reports to the general public, the role of technology, and prospects for collaboration. No need for me to anticipate this report. But I did have one major takeaway as well as one self-assigned task.

The Takeaway

Whether the learned academics are large or small, old or new, there is a big difference between those that focus on explicitly on science (or science and technology or STEM) and those that seek to cover a broader scholarly terrain. Science is as close to a universal language as exists in the world. Accordingly, the scientific academies cover similar range of topics, have similar criteria for membership, and are concerned with many of the same issues. As a result, scientific academies can communicate readily with one another—they are members of the same species, so to speak.

But once a learned academy extends beyond science and technology, or concerns itself with the arts, the humanities, or even the “softer” social sciences, then the differences across academies becomes much more noticeable, if not occasionally unfordable. If not only scientific excellence, then what are the criteria for membership, awards, topics for discussion, debate, reporting—indeed, even mode of presentation (a slide show vs. a paper read aloud). What’s NOT on the radar screen? If the arts are featured, does this include performers or painters, or only those who study or critique the arts? And if the scholarly front covers the humanities, what to do when, unlike the sciences, no consensual method exists—where, for example, a post-modern approach is one branch’s ideal and another branch’s anathema; or where the study of language or literature is conducted entirely different in different communities around the world?

We may assume that whatever their differences, scientific academies can make common cause. No analogous assumption obtains to different or broader learned academies.

The Task

If these learned academies from around the world are going to attempt more collaboration, rather than simply occasional meetings, it’s important to identify the features on which they may differ.  Some divergences may be consequential, others less so. It might be useful to have a taxonomy of the key features of several dozen learned societies that exist today. Here’s a sacrificial opening.

The criteria on which one might classify the societies:

  • Are they organized around a single discipline, several disciplines, or do they cover the academic waterfront?
  • Are they restricted in membership and if so, on what criteria? Are members only from one nation or one region, or can they come from around the globe? Are meetings open or closed? Private or publicized?
  • Are there associated organizations or collections of younger individuals and, if so, how do they relate to the “parent” organization?
  • For both full members, and young affiliates, are there special efforts to diversify the population—by gender, ethnic, racial, or other criteria?
  • Are these academies restricted to scholarship (as carried out in universities or research centers), or do they include performers, members of diverse professions, individuals who are accomplished in different sectors or careers? What about individuals prominent in business or politics?
  • Are the academies certified by the government, supported by the government, or completely independent of the government? If connected to the government, in what ways, if any, does this connection restrict what they can do, whether it is made public, and, if so, in what forms?
  • Do they have an affiliation with a university or with some kind of professional organization? What are the benefits or drawbacks of such an affiliation?
  • With what other entities (including other learned societies) do they have an ongoing relation? What’s the nature of that relationship?
  • Do they have some kind of charter, and if so, who issued the charter, can it be altered, and, if so, in which ways?
  • Do members have any responsibilities (ranging from yearly fees to attendance at meetings) or can membership be entirely honorific?
  • On what grounds, if any, can an individual be expelled from the organization? Is there a “senior” status and, if so, what are the rights and obligations of “senior” members?

Final Comments

In and of itself, such a taxonomy is just an exercise, useful perhaps to someone like me (an inveterate taxonomist and synthesizer) but not to many others. But if the societies are to work together, then it’s important to understand the opportunities and the constraints, and such a taxonomy could be a useful first step—indicating possible incommensurabilities and how one might circumvent them.

Why is this essay relevant to a blog on “lifelong learning?” We tend to think of learning as restricted to formal educational institutions (K-12, college, professional school) or to courses offered online or to residents of a nearby community. But if learning is truly to be lifelong, the knowledge and contributions of illustrious scholars becomes important. It’s wrong—especially in these fraught times—for such scholars simply to congratulate one another and to congregate with one another. They should be “giving away” what they know and have learned and help others to join in this enterprise. Some of these activities can and should be carried out in universities and other research centers. But the learned societies have a breadth and sweep—and even a longevity—that transcends that of most institutions of higher education.

Importantly, if, as I fear, scholarship is under threat around the world, it is no longer appropriate for these organizations to stay below the firing line. They need to be public, and they ought to work together. At the meeting that I attended in Philadelphia, those in attendance sat underneath the portrait of Benjamin Franklin, who founded the American Philosophical Society in 1743. As Franklin memorably uttered after signing the Declaration of Independence, “We must, indeed, hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

I thank Robert Hauser for his insights about learned societies.

Categories: Blog

Video: San Francisco’s $1,200 Bunk Bed

Youth Radio - June 21, 2019 - 11:46am

Housing prices are so crazy in San Francisco, this startup is renting out bunk beds and advocating for communal living.

The post Video: San Francisco’s $1,200 Bunk Bed appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Crossing Borders, Deserts and Rivers to Reunite with My Parents

Youth Radio - June 20, 2019 - 12:59pm

This story originally appeared in YCteen, a magazine written by New York City teens. It is published by Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization that helps youth reach their full potential through reading and writing.

The names have been changed in this story.

When I saw my grandma answer the phone, I knew it was the smugglers calling. My family had paid some smugglers — which everyone calls coyotes — to take me from El Salvador through Guatemala and Mexico and across the border to Texas. From there, I would travel to New York, where I would join my parents. They were coming to pick me up. It was time to say goodbye.

My grandma started to cry. I gave her a hug, she squeezed me, and she said, “Me va a dejar solita.” (You are leaving me alone.) I couldn’t find words to comfort her. When the smugglers drove up, we squeezed each other tightly. It was the most difficult part of the whole trip because I didn’t know if that hug would be our last.

It was also hard for me to leave my country and the home where I’d grown up. I lived in a small town in the countryside. It was hard to say goodbye to the chickens and the cows.

Still, I felt ready to make this journey. My dad had left El Salvador for the U.S. when I was a baby. My mom joined him when I was 7. It was the plan that when they had made a stable life in America, I would join them. I dreamed of playing with my dad and having my mom go to the parent-teacher conferences at school. I was jealous of other kids who weren’t separated from their parents.

Also, although my family never wanted me to know the details, I knew the local gang had threatened to hurt me if my grandmother didn’t increase her payments to them. I was 14 and the time had come.

We Sped Out of Town

The two coyotes arrived with a friend of theirs and an older teenage girl they were also smuggling across the border.

A lot of people were on the street, including my school friends ­— I hadn’t told them I was leaving. I got into the coyotes’ car. We lifted dust and sped out of town. I realized it was probably my last time traveling through El Salvador, and I wanted to remember all of the details of my country. I tried to memorize every person’s face, the houses, cars, and road signs.

After three hours of driving, we stopped to eat pupusas, Salvadoran tortillas made of corn flour filled with cheese and ground beans. They were special pupusas to me because they were the last ones I was going to have in El Salvador. I ate four of them.

That night we pulled up to a house guarded by a dog, in a city where I think the smugglers lived. The first thing I did was call my grandma to tell her I was OK. I had no idea where I was, but the smugglers were nice. I trusted them because my family had entrusted them with my care. There was no bed, just a mattress and sheets on the floor, but still I slept like a baby.

Image courtesy of Youth Communication

The next day we took a bus to the border between El Salvador and Guatemala. I didn’t have a passport, so we could not cross at the official checkpoint. There was a river between the two countries, and a guy I didn’t know led me to a spot where I took off my clothes and walked in. The water was shallow but we had to hurry across. Then we walked to the street where a motorcycle taxi picked us up and drove us to a house. After that, we made our way through Guatemala in buses, resting in hotels, and acting as normal as we could, as if we belonged there and were not on the run. It took about a week to reach the Mexican border.

Through Mexico we did the same, going from car to car, hotel to hotel, house to house. I was taken to houses that were full of people from different Central American countries, but we all shared the same goal — reaching the United States safely. There I learned that it was not as easy for everybody as it had been for me so far. In one of the houses where I stayed, a woman had been there for more than a week and her smuggler had left her there. She was almost out of money.

One night a car came to pick us up. We drove to a place where a truck was waiting, crammed full of people. It had two levels with the women and children on the top and the men on the bottom. The truck was sealed and we couldn’t see any light. It was hard for us to breathe. We could hardly move. The women on the top could feel the breeze but I was down with 70 other boys and men, desperate for fresh air. We spent the whole night in this truck, and at the end of the trip I couldn’t feel my legs.

Crossing the Border

The first day we tried to get across the Rio Grande, the smugglers went ahead to see if it was safe for us to cross. When they came back they were scared. “Los Zetas are on the river,” they said in Spanish. Los Zetas is one of the most dangerous Mexican drug cartels, and everyone is afraid of them.

The smugglers left and said they were going to get help. While we waited, I wondered: What options did I have if these guys didn’t return? Two guys who had joined our group offered to take me to a part of the river where the U.S. Border Patrol could find me. They said I was a kid, so I might have a chance to go to court and stay in the U.S. But these two men had already been deported once and were trying for the second time to get back in. They were strangers and I didn’t trust them. My family had told me not to talk to anybody, and not to trust anybody, and to do what the smugglers said. This helped me to make the decision to stay and wait.

Finally a new smuggler came to replace the others, and we walked to the street from where we had been hiding behind bushes. We took turns carrying two heavy backpacks full of canned food. I thought we were close to the river, but we had to walk another half day to get there. The sun hit us hard so when we finally got there. I was excited to go in because the water was clean and fresh. I wanted to stay longer, but there were some dangerous rapids and also the Border Patrol tends to be around.

We walked through the river carrying our clothes on top of our heads so that they would not get wet. When we got to the other side someone said, “Esta es tierra Americana.” (This is American soil.) I thought that meant the journey was almost over, but it was just the beginning. 
Suddenly, one smuggler told us to get as far as possible from the river, fast. We ran and climbed over some fences. He reminded us to to help each other and make sure nobody got left behind.

“Remember to take care of your water bottle as you take care of your eyes,” he also told us.

We walked all day and night, resting for only a few minutes. The days were hot and lonely and the nights were quiet and cold. My clothes were torn and full of thorns. At night I couldn’t see what was in front of me. Thorns punctured my bottle and drop by drop I was losing my precious water.

Still, I felt connected to the sound of the wind in the lonely Texas desert, and the sadness of the paths other people had followed with the dream of reaching the other side. I was amazed at the endless desert. I felt like a little boat in the middle of an ocean. When we stopped to rest, we told each other stories about our lives back home and it made us feel better.

Getting Caught

The night I got caught, we had been on the road for six days. We were exhausted from walking day and night. My smuggler wasn’t sure where we were going because he had lost his phone. But after several hours we found a house. The lady who lived there told us to follow the roads of dust, which would get us to the main road.

After we had been walking for a while, we saw cars coming and one of the smugglers yelled, “La migra!” which means Border Patrol. We hid on the side of the road, thinking the bushes and the darkness of night might cover us.

I heard branches rattle and knew they had found us. We all ran in different directions. But soon I stopped and they handcuffed me and took me to their car. They kept looking for the others for a while. I have no idea what happened to them.

Image courtesy of Youth Communication

The Border Patrol took us to a detention center. They put me in a cell with other kids. They were around my age, and looked tired and sad. The cell was cold and there were no sheets, only a toilet, a sink, and a bench to sleep on. A tall man in a dark green uniform asked me if I knew my parents’ phone number. He gave me the phone and my mom answered. “Mom, they caught me,” I said in Spanish. It was the first time she had heard my voice since I started to walk through the desert.

They let me talk to her for five minutes. I told her where I was, and that I was OK. Then the man in the uniform took the phone and explained to my mom through an interpreter what would happen next. The officer started to ask me questions about my trip, if I had any tattoos, if the smugglers had abused me. He told me that what I had done was illegal, and therefore I faced deportation. I felt scared and started to regret surrendering. I should have continued running, I told myself. The officer told me I was going to go to court and a judge would decide if I could stay in the U.S. or not.

The officers were nice and offered me a choice between a burrito and mac and cheese. I didn’t understand what mac and cheese meant, but it turned out it was just “macarrones con queso,” a similar dish we have in El Salvador. I think it was the best mac and cheese I have ever had, maybe because I was really hungry and tired.

Early the next morning a van came for me and other people who had been arrested at the border. They were older than me so they were dropped in different detention centers. They had handcuffs but I didn’t. All I knew was that we were in Houston, and I didn’t know where we were going.

The van took me to Casa Quetzal, a shelter for migrant children. Casa Quetzal was a cozy place where I met kids from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with similar experiences to mine. We all wanted to be with our families and to stay in the U.S. That was our dream. I shared a bedroom with three other kids. I got food and new clothes to replace my old torn ones. A lovely doctor gave me 12 vaccines, six in each arm. That’s how I spent my first full day in the U.S.

I Fell in Love

I felt comfortable at Casa Quetzal and made many friends. I was allowed to call my family twice a week. I had plenty of food and snacks and some English and Algebra classes. The staff treated me nicely. All of them were Spanish speakers.

We had a small field to play soccer. There were no police, only a few security guards at the doors. Some of the kids had been at Casa Quetzal for more than six months, and they got bused to churches, dentists, and other places. I was new so I never got to go on a trip.

I met a girl named Elizabeth who was short and beautiful. I remember the way she looked at me when I first entered the classroom; I fell in love in that moment. We sat together and we started to get to know each other. She was also from El Salvador, which made me feel more comfortable with her.

Soon we became more than friends. But at Casa Quetzal we were forbidden to touch each other. The boys always walked into the room ahead of the girls, so I’d try to be last in the line so I could talk to her. We talked during class and shared some letters.

While my parents were doing everything to get me out of the shelter, I was hoping to stay longer so I could be with Elizabeth. She was going to the West Coast and I was going to New York. But one morning after I had been at Casa Quetzal for almost a month, my social worker came in with a yellow folder and told me I’d be leaving the next day. Even though I had known Elizabeth for only a short time it was hard for me to say goodbye. I couldn’t even hug her because of the rules.

Arriving in New York

I boarded a plane to New York. During the flight I thought about my grandma, my parents, the journey, my friends, and Elizabeth. I was hungry but I didn’t know English, so I just kept looking out the window. I knew I was over New York City when I saw the Statue of Liberty.

We arrived at LaGuardia Airport where my parents were waiting. I felt weird having not seen them for so long, but I also felt happy when I hugged them. I felt complete. For so many years I had only heard their voices on the phone, and seen their faces only in pictures. But here they were right in front of me in the flesh and then I knew that the journey was finally over.

Editor’s Note: Two years after arriving in New York, the writer was granted asylum. Eventually, he plans to apply for U.S. citizenship.

The post Crossing Borders, Deserts and Rivers to Reunite with My Parents appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

Youth Radio - June 20, 2019 - 12:22pm

Things are constantly changing in the landscape of the music industry and it’s important to stay on top of trends and news updates, especially as an independent artist. We’ve got you covered with a weekly recap of the top stories you need to know.


Lil Jon has dropped a new track featuring the Bay Area legend Mac Dre. It was a devastating blow when Mac Dre passed away in 2004, but we’re for sure happy to hear the legend himself back on “Ain’t No Tellin’.”


DJ Khaled plans on suing Billboard due to claims that he was cheated out of last week’s number one spot which was held by Tyler, The Creator’s “IGOR.” Billboard didn’t agree to combine DJ Khaled’s energy drink bundle with his album sales, while they did count Tyler The Creator’s merch bundle sales combined with his album sales.


Tyler, The Creator was caught previewing possible upcoming pieces from a potential GolfWang x Lacoste collaboration at the French Open in Paris. Even though this collaboration isn’t for certain, fans suspect an announcement coming up very soon. Tyler was also seen previewing more pieces while on his trip to Paris.


Kanye West and Pusha T are reportedly being sued over failing to clear the sample used for Pusha T’s track “Come Back Baby” featured on “Daytona.” FAME Enterprises Inc. claims that West and Pusha T sampled George Jackson’s “I Can’t Do Without You” without permission. It’s not a surprise, knowing Kanye. He is a sampling god, however, when it comes to sampling people’s music IP you must get it cleared.


M.I.A. has recently been named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of The British Empire. According to PitchFork, “British nominees are recognized for their service to the arts, medicine, philanthropy, and other sectors. M.I.A gladly accepts this award and pays tribute to her mother who stitched these medals for the past 30 years. “

The post 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

National Search for the CEO to Lead YR Media

Youth Radio - June 19, 2019 - 5:38pm

Dear YR Media Community,

I want to share a major update—we are about to launch a national search for a CEO who can lead YR Media in its growth as a one-of-a-kind youth-driven national network of young journalists and artists.

For the past year, I’ve worked closely with our board president, Luc Bellet, on this planned leadership transition for the emerging YR Media. We are committed to strong, engaged leadership throughout this transition and a continuity of vision and momentum. I will continue as President/CCO until the leadership transition is complete and then I will move on from YR, while staying connected as part of the community we have built, cheering on the team forging our next chapter. This is an exciting time here—and it is crucial that we continue to preserve (and strengthen) the independence and power of young people speaking their truths.

We have built this together over the past 25+ years:

A place for young people of all backgrounds to learn media skills together and become leaders. A place to create, compose, report and investigate together… and to develop YR.Media, a platform that connects young journalists and their communities.

It has been my privilege, as the founder of Youth Radio, to follow the vision and direction of young people who have now led us to YR Media. Together with you, we’ve grown Youth Radio from an empty office space (next to KPFA radio) in Berkeley, to a storefront down the street and then—in 2005—to the forefront of change in Oakland, owning and operating our own youth-driven digital media facility, located at the corner of 17th and Broadway.

As we have grown, our young leaders have kept us far ahead of the curve: because that’s what young leaders do. They lead in technology — and social change. After 18 months of strategic planning and many interviews with young participants, we set a new direction and last October launched YR.Media. The Oakland facility is becoming the headquarters for our national network. With your tremendous support, our content now offers a unique view on news and the arts & culture scenes for 18 to 30-year-olds. We are launching our first national podcast, our first video documentary is in production, our online radio station alldayplay.fm will launch video streaming soon, and our next music releases are in development.

Our new media enterprise is recruiting new leadership that brings expertise at the nexus of digital media, business and audience/community building. We will keep you updated.

In the meantime, we will continue to strengthen and protect what we have built together:

  • Award-winning journalism and arts syndicated by key outlet partners including: The New York Times, National Public Radio, the CBS Network, and Pandora
  • In person and online media education for thousands of youth in the Bay Area and across the nation
  • National Endowment for the Arts and National Science Foundation awards recognizing our young artists and developers as national leaders in their fields
  • A growing national network of contributors driving daily content for their peers

Please stay engaged with us, enjoy and share YR.Media.

Ellin O’Leary

President & Chief Content Officer


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Categories: Blog