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.

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Narrative Objects: Sexual Healing

MIT Center for Civic Media - 3 hours 58 min ago
Note: This post includes content about sexual trauma. This is the first in a series of posts about Narrative Objects: physical artifacts — from the speculative to the functional — that tell new stories about the world we live in. Sexual Healing is a collection of sensory objects for people who experience sexual problems after a traumatic experience, focusing on individual agency and the reclamation of pleasure, rather than clinical treatment. These objects are meant to be functional at the […]
Categories: Blog

What Happens When a Teen Activist Turns 20?

Youth Radio - January 21, 2019 - 8:20am

For the past few years, I’ve built a lot of my identity around being a teenager — or more specifically, a teen activist. But now, I’m turning 20. And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what that means for me.

When I was 16, MTV News ran a story about the nonprofit I started, which is aimed at empowering teens to disrupt the status quo. They titled their story: “This Muslim-American Teen Turned His Suffering Into a Full-Fledged Battle Against Stereotypes.”

There’s a whole world of kids like me, teen activists and entrepreneurs who have been continuously celebrated for our youth. There are many of us, young people who have become spokespeople for certain causes: gun violence, education reform, drug decriminalization. We are listened to, at least in part, because we are young.

I think people love stories about young people mobilizing because of the novelty of it all, but also because the next generation is always associated with hope. When young people give presentations, we are often told that we reignite people’s belief in tomorrow. The reality is that young voices have an opportunity to be heard because we are received as exciting, powerful and refreshing. The public wants to believe in the next generation, naturally.

As I’ve come of age as a young American-Muslim, I’ve leaned into “teenagerness.” I gave a TEDxTalk titled, “Our Age Does Not Limit Our Activism” in 2015. Later, I founded a consulting firm, JUV Consulting, with the aim of teaching brands how to better market to Generation Z. As I moved into the lane of youth advocacy, my “teenagerness” became a massive part of who I was, the work that I did and how the world saw me.

I’ve leaned into the idea that people have listened to me more closely because I’ve been young. But as I turn 20, I’m thinking now about what happens next.

I realize that I’m not suddenly old because I’m 20. My ideas were no more valid when I was 19 than they are now. I’m grateful to have been given a platform while I was so young, and my hope is to continue to use my platform responsibly to focus on issues that matter.

I’ve been tremendously lucky that my teens have been so good to me, but I’ve also been so non-stop in my “hustle” that a part of me does feel like my teens have just passed me by. There are moments where I worry that sometimes I’ve forgotten just to take a moment and enjoy my youth. So as I think about growing up into a 20-something, my goal is to savor these years.

As I get older, I feel committed to passing the mic to many other young people, especially those organizing to make tomorrow better. I will also continue to be enormously proud to be of my generation — and to support those younger than me as they claim their seats at tables.

As I think about what’s next, the answer is simple: the work. The fact that I’m 20 doesn’t change my passions, so leaning into my purpose irrespective of my age will be an anchor for this next decade of my life.

And I hope people are willing to listen, even if “20-something” isn’t as catchy as “teen.”

The post What Happens When a Teen Activist Turns 20? appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

From Our Oakland Teen Desk: MLK’s Legacy in 2019

Youth Radio - January 21, 2019 - 8:05am

America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day today.

MLK sparked a social movement in the 1960s that addressed civil rights issues in America, emphasizing the barriers people of color face.

To see how MLK’s legacy continues today, we talked to some of the students and interns at YR Media’s headquarters in Oakland, California. (YR Media provides after-school programs and internships to a diverse group of young people from around the Bay Area.)

Martin Luther King “motivates me to do better in school and do what I believe in,” Anthony, 17, said.

Given that messages of white supremacy and racism are still all around us — from Rep. Steve King’s recent comments in defense of white nationalism, to the alt right and Charlottesville, Virginia — what would MLK do if he were still alive today?

The post From Our Oakland Teen Desk: MLK’s Legacy in 2019 appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Listen to ADP.FM: City Cat Radio MLK Episode

Youth Radio - January 21, 2019 - 8:02am
The freshest DJs in the bay spinning live from a street-level studio in downtown Oakland, California.

Happy MLK Day! This is an episode of City Cat Radio with DJ Henroc, airing from All Day Play FM. We hope you enjoy the show in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and continue to create his dream.

The post Listen to ADP.FM: City Cat Radio MLK Episode appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How Much Do You Really Know About MLK? Take Our Quiz.

Youth Radio - January 21, 2019 - 8:00am

How much do you really know about the man behind the iconic initials, MLK?

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if you’d just like to show off to your friends, take our quiz below.

Are you up for the challenge?

Photos of Martin Luther King Jr. courtesy Wikimedia Commons and the U.S. National Archives.

The post How Much Do You Really Know About MLK? Take Our Quiz. appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Finding Comfort in YouTube Hair Tutorials

Youth Radio - January 20, 2019 - 8:00am

Last year, I decided to grow out my kinky, curly hair for the first time. But there was no one in my family that I could turn to. YouTube came to the rescue.

In my immediate family, I’m the only one with kinky hair. I’m mixed race —black, white, and Filipina. My mom has loose curls and my dad’s hair is straight. I didn’t have anyone to look to for guidance.

Time and again, I wandered through the natural hair aisle—feeling lost. When I decided to grow my hair out, I realized I needed some real advice. So I turned to YouTube.

Immediately, I discovered tons of girls online that faced the same hair challenges. I didn’t feel alone anymore. Through these videos I was able to try out new products and styles. I feel less intimidated in the beauty supply store now.

I often hear about social media and the internet hurting more than helping teens. But in this case, I was able to discover a community that wasn’t available for me in person.

Watching people talk about their natural hair made me feel more confident about mine. Now, I consider it one of my best features.

The post Finding Comfort in YouTube Hair Tutorials appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

I Went to the First Women’s March and I’m Still Excited

Youth Radio - January 19, 2019 - 6:45am

This weekend is the third anniversary of the Women’s March. Two years ago, I was on a plane flying from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to join thousands of women on the National Mall. I was traveling with my two best friends at the time, along with our moms.

After we arrived in D.C., we stayed in my friend’s aunt’s apartment, anxiously preparing for our protest by cutting out felt letters and gluing them to blankets we could wear during the march. Mine was a pink snuggy that read, “My Body, My Future, My Choice.”

In the days leading up to the march, we’d sit on the balcony of the apartment and observe the people passing by. There were several smaller rallies leading up to the march, as well as some celebrations for the inauguration of Donald Trump. We watched pink pussy hats and red MAGA hats bob down the street below us, more than we could count. It was both uplifting and upsetting to see the mix.

On the day of the march, we entered a giant sea of people. I have never felt this sort of energy — the amount of love, anger and passion that moved through our group captivated me. I distinctly remember two guys standing up on top of a raised ledge wearing Trump shirts and MAGA hats. They stood there, drinking their beers and watching all of us. A woman stood next to them with a sign that just read, “Fuck this guy.”

We marched for seven hours that day. I never grew tired. Every moment that passed, every sign I read, every chant we yelled, seemed to make us stronger. We became a swarm (and were estimated to be around one million people), fueled by the energy we emitted. At the end of the day, we lay in bed and reflected on our day. I’ve never felt so empowered.

A stack of signs from the Women’s March left on the ground of a D.C. metro station on Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo: Mila De la Torre)

Although I was encouraged by the event, the march received a lot of backlash. Even during the first march, many critics questioned its lack of intersectionality. They felt it was not inclusive of women of color and trans women, and they pointed to the white women who organized it in the first place. I can only speak for myself. As a young woman of color, I did feel that there was a place for me. Marching amongst so many people deeply impacted my outlook.

So on Saturday at the Women’s March in San Francisco, I’ll be attending with my close friend and I’m more than excited to feel that same sense of pride again.

The post I Went to the First Women’s March and I’m Still Excited appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Woman to Womxn: New Women’s Marches Aim for Inclusivity

Youth Radio - January 18, 2019 - 4:28pm

The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. — and marches around the country — are set to kick off again on Saturday, Jan. 19.

Since 2017, the march has become a kind of annual tradition, with thousands of citizens taking to the streets to protest President Donald Trump and his policies while giving voice to the largest traditionally underrepresented group: women.

With a record 131 women now serving in Congress, it’s tempting to point to the Women’s March as having had a profound effect on American politics.

But some believe the Women’s March hasn’t been inclusive enough of people of color or women from less privileged backgrounds. And critics point to controversial statements made by the lead organizers of the national March. 

Just this week the national Women’s March co-president Tamika D. Mallory was taken to task on the television show “The View” for support she’s shown for controversial, chronically anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan. The dust-up over Mallory is just one issue the central organizers have faced, which has prompted some activists to establish their own women’s marches.

The Womxn’s March in Denver is one such event. On Saturday, Denver locals will march a one-mile route near the state capitol. The name itself — Womxn’s March — has special resonance in Colorado, the first state in the nation to allow “X” as a gender identification on birth certificates and driver licenses.

“The ‘X’ in the Womxn’s March is one way of showing intersectionality,” said Brenda Herrera Moreno, part of the leadership for Womxn’s March Denver.

‘Intersectionality’ refers to how race, class and gender all play a role in discrimination.

“We’re showing a conversation that needs to happen. We’re showing a conversation that has happened and moving it into the lens of the Womxn’s March. So it doesn’t mean we are denying anyone to apart of the room, we’re really opening the door further to make sure everyone can be a part of that conversation.”

For the Womxn’s March Denver, that includes youth voices.

“Two of our speakers are high school students, and that was really important to the programming committee, to make sure that voices were represented from the next generation. I would say that we have work to do on including youth leadership,” said organizer Angela Astle.

Astle explains that the Denver Womxn’s March split off from the national group after the 2017 event. They currently operate under the umbrella of the March On group, a different nationwide organization that grew out of the original 2017 march.

“The difference between National and the March On movement is that National tends to have a top-down approach. National is really trying to like look at…this is what we want you to do and this is how we want people to show up and [this is] our guiding principles,” Astle said. “While March On was like ‘Do you, do what is good for your community, do what is good for your own backyard.’”

The national March On organization also puts an emphasis on getting local leaders elected. That focus on concrete change hasn’t necessarily taken root here in the Mile High City yet.

“People are really moved and motivated to be a [part of] the march itself, but then energy kinda [dips] and the next phase of actual action doesn’t always take place,” Astle said.

So the organizers instead focus on connection as the goal, acting as a platform for other organizations whose activism centers on issues such as domestic abuse, rape and marginalization.

“I would really love everyone…who attends to walk out with a different perspective on any anti-oppressive concept,” said Regan Byrd, another Womxn’s March Denver organizer. “Whether that is intersectionality, whether that is inclusivity, whether that’s gender non-binary. What those designations mean and what they are. I want someone to walk out learning something and understanding how broad this conversation is and can be.”

The Womxn’s March isn’t unique to Denver, as the split between the national Women’s March group and local organizers has happened around the country.

While Denver only has the Womxn’s March, cities like Seattle will host multiple events from different groups of organizers. To add a little confusion to the mix: in Seattle the march affiliated with the Women’s March uses the Womxn’s March spelling, while the group that has broken off calls their event Womxn Marching Forward.

The conversation takes to the streets on Saturday Jan. 19, with the Denver Womxn’s March beginning with a pre-rally at at Civic Center Park at 9 a.m. and the march proper starting at 10:30 a.m.

The post Woman to Womxn: New Women’s Marches Aim for Inclusivity appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Sick and Tired: Oakland Teachers ‘Sick Out’

Youth Radio - January 18, 2019 - 2:06pm

Teachers from several Oakland schools staged a walk-out on Friday that’s also been billed as a “sick out.”

A social media post invited students and teachers to meet outside Oakland Technical High School at 8 a.m. and march to the Oakland Unified School District office.

On their way to the district office, the strikers marched down Broadway in downtown Oakland, shouting, “When I say cutbacks, you say fight back,” and, “Keep our schools open.” A flyer distributed at Skyline High School demanded the school district meet the teachers’ union’s demands for “fair wages, lower class sizes and Oakland’s public schools to remain open.”

Earlier this fall, OUSD announced that it would close or consolidate up to 24 schools in the coming years, as a result of budget shortfalls and declining student enrollment. 

Protesters chant, “Keep our schools open,” pushing against district plans to close schools, on Jan. 18, 2019. (Video: Georgia Kingsley-Doyle)

Georgia Kingsley-Doyle, 16, marched alongside her teachers. “If I went to school, they’d just put us in the auditorium with an administrator the whole day anyway,” she said. Kingsley-Doyle is a sophomore at Oakland Technical High School and has dealt with class size issues first-hand. “In my math class, we have so many students that there’s only enough seats if two people skip,” she said.

Kingsley-Doyle walked next to her Spanish teacher, Rebecca Padilla, who said, “We’re striking to protect public education and make sure Oakland has quality teachers.”

Arlette Sanchez, 16, is a sophomore at Skyline High School. She posted frequently to social media imploring her followers to join the teacher walk-out and to wear red in support of the strike. She said teacher turnover has personally affected her. “It’s important to me, because last year I lost almost a whole year of [math], not learning geometry. I was close to failing. We had no math teacher, because he left at the second week of school. I had a lot of subs,” Sanchez said.

Oakland teachers have been working without a contract for over a year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Friday’s walk-out is not sanctioned by the teachers’ union, the Oakland Education Association. SFGate has reported that negotiations between the district and the union have stalled, and the union is entering its final steps before a vote on a union-sanctioned strike.

The post Sick and Tired: Oakland Teachers ‘Sick Out’ appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Meet One High School’s First Trans Homecoming Queen

Youth Radio - January 18, 2019 - 1:10pm

Oakland senior Luis Salas didn’t plan on being homecoming queen. The Castlemont High School student only threw her hat in the ring a day before the deadline to get into the homecoming queen race.

“I kept asking around…was there any homecoming queen that was trans
before? And everybody said, ‘No. If you run and you win, you’ll be the first,'” Salas told YR Media reporter Emiliano Villa.

Watch the video to see Salas’ complete interview and find out what it was like to win the crown. And check out the photos below of Salas on the day she won.

Luis Salas on homecoming. (Photo courtesy Salas) Luis Salas on homecoming. (Photo courtesy Salas)

The post Meet One High School’s First Trans Homecoming Queen appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

What It’s Like to Be on the Picket Line with an LA Teacher

Youth Radio - January 16, 2019 - 2:41pm

It’s only Natalia Ramos’s first year on the job. But the 24-year-old high school music teacher is already taking part in a historic moment: the first teachers’ strike in Los Angeles in 30 years.

Ramos was one of more than 30,000 teachers who went on strike on Monday, demanding better pay, smaller class sizes and a pause in the growth of charter schools.

Ramos explained she doesn’t have the materials she needs to teach her classes, including up-to-date music and folders for sheet music.

The strike began after contract negotiations broke down between the teachers’ union — the United Teachers Los Angeles, or UTLA — and the school district. Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest in the country. More than 600,000 students are affected by the strike.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that he’s “proud” of the teachers.

I am proud of our teachers. My greatest priority is the safety of our children. For the latest and most accurate updates about the teachers strike here in Los Angeles, please follow my mayor profile: @MayorOfLA

— Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) January 15, 2019

“This impasse is disrupting the lives of too many kids and their families. I strongly urge all parties to go back to the negotiating table and find an immediate path forward that puts kids back into classrooms and provides parents certainty,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement on Monday.

The school district lost $15 million on the first day of the strike, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner told ABC7 News.

The post What It’s Like to Be on the Picket Line with an LA Teacher appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

5 Things You Need to Know About the Government Shutdown

Youth Radio - January 15, 2019 - 1:25pm

Now the longest in U.S. history, the shutdown — basically a result of the debate over spending for a border wall — has left roughly 800,000 federal employees without a paycheck and led to concerns about airline safety and vandalism to national parks.

While many parts of the federal government remain open, here are some ways the shutdown may affect you.

TSA

Travelers are complaining about longer than usual security lines as airport officials close screening lanes because TSA employees are taking time off work rather than have to work unpaid. Unscheduled absences doubled Monday to 7.6 percent, compared to a 3.2 percent rate on the same day a year ago, TSA officials tweeted.

With hundreds of TSA workers calling in sick and others working without pay, is it really safe to fly? TSA officials say air travel is not impacted and it’s still safe to fly.

Security standards will NOT and have NOT been compromised. Reports thereof are misleading, agenda-driven and only embolden the adversary. #NotOnOurWatch

— Michael Bilello (@TSA_Bilello) January 9, 2019

Because of wait times, passengers are urged to arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours for international travel. But it’s also smart to check in with your airport directly.

If you have a flight during this shutdown, don’t forget to smile at your TSA workers. They’re working to keep you safe, despite not knowing when they’ll be paid for their services. 

Air Traffic Control

On a similar note, air traffic controllers are also expected to work without pay. Unlike TSA agents, the union for air traffic controllers is suing the Trump administration.

Additionally, air traffic control is a line of work that requires complete and total concentration. A single mistake could lead to drastic consequences. “America wants its air traffic controllers to be laser-focused on landing planes safely and monitoring America’s runways, not distracted by financial issues and anxiety of financial instability,” the union said in its lawsuit, according to news reports.

The union representing flight attendants, AFA-CWA, has also weighed in.

"The government #shutdown must end. As it continues, over 11 million working people that count on a stable aviation system are put in jeopardy." – @FlyingWithSara https://t.co/ycJwLxlUlx pic.twitter.com/b6rict7boU

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) January 8, 2019

But air traffic controllers are getting some support as their Canadian counterparts have sent hundreds of pizzas to US employees as the shutdown continues.

National Parks

Before you head out to visit a national park, you may want to check to make sure it’s open.

While gates at some park sites remain open, currently a third of national park locations are completely closed — presidential homes, museums and cultural sites with buildings that can be locked.

Some of the major parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone are open, but the staff is limited and many visitor centers and restrooms remain closed. The roads are also far more dangerous because they have not been cleared of fallen debris.

Limited or no staff leaves many of the national park sites vulnerable. There have been reports of vandals cutting off locks from closed entrance gates, severed Joshua trees and cars driving through restricted areas. At least seven national park visitors have died since the partial shutdown began on Dec. 22, according to CNN. 

America's parks are suffering. It's time to tell @Interior @DOIDepSec: close all national parks until the shutdown ends and they can be FULLY funded, staffed, and protected. Raise your voice here:https://t.co/y6HF6UmsnL pic.twitter.com/hy2dVQKXTg

— National Parks Conservation Association (@NPCA) January 14, 2019

If you’re visiting a park, let the wildlife be. If you brought something with you, also bring it home because Mother Nature doesn’t want your trash anymore than you do. And most importantly, leave it better than you found it.

Financial Aid

Since the U.S. Department of Education is fully funded for the 2018-19 school year, students shouldn’t see a disruption to their financial aid packages this semester.

FYI: The Department of Education is not affected by the shutdown. You can still complete your FAFSA form and there is no impact on your school disbursing your funds. Remember to check your deadlines! https://t.co/ijT4djN1Lo pic.twitter.com/25dQ6tpJnv

— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA) December 28, 2018

But with some Internal Revenue Service departments closed, students selected by the Department of Education (DOE) to verify proof of their income for next year’s FAFSA application may have difficulty obtaining documents from the IRS.

DOE officials recently announced alternative documentation to verify tax and income information.

FDA Resumes Food Inspections

Furloughed food inspectors will resume food inspections Tuesday, the first time since the federal government shut down.

We re-starting high risk food inspections as early as tomorrow. We'll also do compounding inspections this week. And we started sampling high risk imported produce in the northeast region today. We'll expand our footprint as the week progresses. Our teams are working.

— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) January 14, 2019

While the FDA employees won’t be paid, they’ll focus on high-risk food items like seafood and cheese. But is that cold comfort for people anxious over food safety, especially in the wake of the romaine lettuce scare? 

Have you been affected by the shutdown or know someone who has? Share your stories with us on Twitter (@itsYRmedia), Facebook (@yrmediapage) or Instagram (@yr.media).

The post 5 Things You Need to Know About the Government Shutdown appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

The Just Data Cube (at D4BL II)

MIT Center for Civic Media - January 14, 2019 - 1:49pm
We live in a world increasingly governed by algorithms. Sadly these algorithms aren’t creating a more neutral world of equitable outcomes; they are baking in historical injustices long present in society at large (1). Not surprisingly, those who are currently denied power in society are the most at-risk in this data driven future. Their voices should be amplified and set the agenda. The Data for Black Lives (twitter) organization works to bring together one communty of folks […]
Categories: Blog

2019 Advice from Olympians, Comedians, Actors and More

Youth Radio - January 14, 2019 - 12:00pm
Advice That’ll Help You Get Your 2019 $h*t Together

2019 is here and you know what that means? A whole ‘notha year full of random swerves that life is gonna put in all of our paths. Some guests from Season 1 of the podcast I co-host called “Adult ISH” — a show for fellow 20-somethings trying to figure out their young adult lives — #knowthatfeel and have words of wisdom that might help you keep your sh*t “ish” together this year.

Stand-up comedian Joel Kim Booster’s strategy for the dating app scene:

“If you want to catch anything you’ve got to set the traps.”

via GIPHY

OWN’s “Love Is ________” star Will Catlett‘s general life advice:

“Be patient. … Nobody really told me that. Work your gift. Not your knowledge, not your wisdom, but your gift, because that is unique to you.”

via GIPHY

What Muslim American Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad suggests you do with your homies who call out your wardrobe choices:

“If your friend is a hater, [get] new friends for sure, and wear that jumpsuit if you feel good in it.”

via GIPHY

Stockton, Calif., Mayor Michael Tubbs says gettin’ swol is key:

“Start going to the gym, man. When you start at 28, it is not pretty.”

Workout Bench GIF from Workout GIFs “The Daily Show” Senior Correspondent Ronny Chieng’s tip on time:

“Don’t be afraid to take your time to grow up. I was too anxious about trying to be an adult when I really wasn’t.”

Take It Slow GIF from Jenniferhudson GIFs Poet Ashlee Haze’s warm words for people who struggle with colorism:

“The truth is that you’re worthy. You’re absolutely gorgeous the way you are. I hate to say cliché stuff, but you need to believe it.”

You’re So… Beautiful – Adventure Time GIF from Adventuretime GIFs “Black-ish” actor Marcus Scribner on what to say to your folks if they’re throwing shade at who you’re dating:

“It’s really about the person and the connection that you share with them. If you’re happy and your parents can’t accept that, tough luck.”

Macho Man Randy Savage GIF from Machoman GIFs Do-it-yourself YouTuber LaurDIY on gettin’ those follows on social media:

“Find what you’re passionate about, build a brand for yourself and make everything cohesive.”

Thats Bella Super Instagram Worthy GIF from Thatsbella GIFs “Bumblebee” actor Jorge Lendeborg Jr. on what he would (or wouldn’t) say to his younger self:

“I’d be super Mr. Miyagi. I wouldn’t say anything. I’d be like, ‘Hey guy, figure it out. Bye!’”

via GIPHY

Musician and writer Lane Moore’s pep talk of getting through any holiday alone:

“Feel proud of yourself because…you’re still here. … Sometimes that’s the bravest thing of all, and if you don’t believe me, it’s a line in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’”

via GIPHY

Actor and poet Demetrius Harmon (FKA Meechonmars) on what he’d tell his future self:

“Listen to your kids about the things they want and don’t get too consumed with work.”

via GIPHY

Disabilities rights advocate Haben Girma’s hype up to Nyge and Merk (who are too chicken to try surfing):

“The world is dangerous. You can’t let sharks stop you from doing something fun! It’s a matter of trying, taking lessons and pushing yourselves.”

Baby Shark Dance GIF from Babyshark GIFs

Follow us at @YRadultISH on Insta, Twitter and like us on Facebook. And subscribe to our show if you haven’t already!

The post 2019 Advice from Olympians, Comedians, Actors and More appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Don’t use A. Briggs

…My Heart’s in Accra - January 13, 2019 - 10:49am

If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably have needed a visa expediter at some point. Good expediters can get you out of a serious jam, helping you get a visa or even a new passport in a short time. For over a decade, I used A. Briggs, a long-established expediter used by many large firms and institutions. They once helped me get a Nigerian visa and a new passport in under a week, which was pretty amazing.

But they’ve gone downhill. Way down. I’m enroute to Nairobi today and from there to Sierra Leone, and given some tight timing, I sent my paperwork to A. Briggs to get the Sierra Leone visa. I should have backed off once I noticed some significant changes to their website. They have been acquired by another firm, CIBT, and their application process is now loaded with hidden fees. By default, you’re signed up for a number of expensive extras, including a $25 fee for keeping a digital copy of the visa they obtain and $25 for registering you with the US State Department, a service the US government provides for free. The online process heavily upsells their “concierge service”, which promises handholding through the visa process for a mere $300 extra – in retrospect, I wonder whether my dreadful experience would have been better or worse after paying that extortionate fee.

People use visa expediters because they need a visa in a narrow window of time – you’re basically paying someone to carry your paperwork to the consulate, wait for it to be completed and send it back to you. The most critical piece of the application is the time by which you need the visa, which in my case was Friday, as my flight to Kenya left Saturday at noon. I spoke to Briggs several times through the process, as they needed even more documents for Sierra Leone than expected, and they assured me they’d have the visa by Wednesday to send it to me on Thursday. When I didn’t get word from a courier that it was enroute on Thursday, I called. Turned out they had gotten the wrong visa – a tourist visa instead of the much more expensive, multiple entry business visa I’d asked for. Instead of calling me and giving mr the choice of traveling with the tourist visa – which I would have chosen – they sent the passport back to the embassy. This meant I wouldn’t have the visa until Friday, and there was no way to get it before getting on my plane.

I got on the phone and got to a manager at Briggs who offered me the solution of a same day courier to deliver me the visa… for a mere $729. When I explained that this was their mistake not mine, she offered to have a courier meet me at the airport just before my flight, for only $200, which she rapidly reduced to $80. (It’s not clear what I might have been able to bargain the $700+ courier down to, but it strongly suggests that A. Briggs is marking up the cost of courier services as another revenue stream.)

I scheduled delivery of my passport to JFK for 10am the day of my flight, which left at noon. Tight but doable. The person I worked with gave me several numbers to try if there were any problems. Predictably, there were. When no courier contacted me by 10am, I started calling numbers. All went to voicemail boxes which hadn’t been set up, except one the woman had given me as her business cellphone, which went to a very confused woman in DC who had nothing to do with the company. Even though no one at A. Briggs or their parent company answered their phones, fortunately their courier did… who explained that A. Briggs had requested delivery at 11am, the time the flight would be closing. I begged the courier to come as fast as he could, tipped him generously when he made it by 10:40 and made my flight with a few seconds to spare.

So yes, I got the visa. I also vomited twice from stress, first when I discovered they’d resubmitted the passport, creating the crisis, and again when I discovered the courier wasn’t coming. Oh, and for such thoughtful service, A. Briggs charged me over $400 in handling fees on top of the $160 visa fee.

Don’t use them, or any company that’s part of CIBT. They won’t give you direct phone numbers to talk with whoever is processing your visa unless you pay an absurd extra fee. Their phone system is misconfigured, so if you’re in a jam, trying to reach someone, you’ll be sent to a broken voicemail inbox. I have no way of knowing whether my miserable experience was incompetence, or a new business strategy – I suspect the former – but I am now trying to get MIT to stop using A. Briggs as their visa expediter, and I would urge anyone, an individual or a corporate travel department, to find someone else to work with.

(Fun postscript – once I finally got my visa, I expected to see a cancelled tourist visa as well as a business visa. I didn’t – just a clean business visa. Given that there’s no pages missing from my passport, and no alterations to that visa page, it looks like A. Briggs just… lied. Either they got the visa on time and failed to send it to me in time, or they didn’t get it until a day late… or maybe they simply didn’t send it on time so they could charge fees on top of what they paid a courier to deliver it. Please, please don’t use this company’s services.)

Categories: Blog

Why I Was Ashamed of Owning My Asian Identity

Youth Radio - January 13, 2019 - 8:00am

In the first grade, I got my first lesson in what it means to be Asian in this country. One of my classmates was doing his best impression of a Chinese waiter, and everybody laughed. Including me.

I figured the only way I could fit in was by making people laugh.

By middle school, I had created witty comebacks to defend myself against endless comparisons to Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee. I would tell over-exaggerated stories, do stereotypical accents, and pretend to sleep in class.

But every fake accent, every kid doing Asian eyes, every boy who patronized me and made fun of my size made me feel less proud of who I was.

I had become the type of person I was trying to escape – a one-dimensional caricature of myself, providing entertainment, but never garnering my classmates’ respect.

Something had to change, but 10 years of fronting doesn’t go away overnight. I still have to remind myself to be honest about who I am and proud of the culture that shaped me. I won’t let anybody take that away from me.

The post Why I Was Ashamed of Owning My Asian Identity appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

An Inside Look at Remix Your Life’s “At The Moment” Mixtape

Youth Radio - January 11, 2019 - 2:57pm
Remix Your Life, YR Media’s music production, distribution and artist development program, has been working on its latest effort for over a year. Throughout the process, the artists involved worked tirelessly to write, produce, record, engineer and mix their latest project, “At The Moment.” These upcoming artists are super excited to watch many of their dreams come true and finally have their voices be heard. Remix Your Life was born in the late 2000s, starting out simply as a safe space for youth to come and express themselves through music and poetry. Since then, it has grown into one of the many robust learning paths offered at YR Media, helping students become proficient in industry-standard audio-engineering programs. Click here for links to “At The Moment” on all streaming platforms.  Click here to listen to Remix Your Life’s previous mixtape, “The Come Up” “Lovin” is the second single off the “At The Moment” mixtape The “At The Moment” mixtape is a collaboration between nearly 20 young artists at YR Media. Vocals, production, engineering, and mixing — it’s all done by young folks from Remix Your Life. While they learn plenty of skills here, the students take their own creative agency and apply their expertise in their own day-to-day life.

The post An Inside Look at Remix Your Life’s “At The Moment” Mixtape appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Remix Your Life x Thizzler

Youth Radio - January 11, 2019 - 2:57pm
Remix Your Life took part in the Best Of Thizzler 18 award show at Thizzler’s studio in Oakland, California. Music production on the track came from RYL’s Money Maka, who was accompanied by $hakon, J Walt and Firstclass Trey.

The post Remix Your Life x Thizzler appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Listen to “At The Moment” on All Streaming Platforms

Youth Radio - January 11, 2019 - 2:56pm
Find all eight tracks from “At The Moment” on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube and any other place you listen to music!  Click the track list below for links to your favorite streaming service

The post Listen to “At The Moment” on All Streaming Platforms appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

El Paso to Trump: We Already Have a Wall

Youth Radio - January 10, 2019 - 6:55pm

On Thursday, President Trump visited the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and expressed the importance of building a wall.

If you don’t live in a border town and don’t wake up every day to a mile-long fence, it can be hard to understand how senseless this idea of a new wall seems.

For those who have lived their whole life in a border town like EL Paso, a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico is already part of their daily life. People cross the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez every single day, and sometime multiple times a day, for work, shopping and school.

Diane Huerta, 29, is one of those people. She is a doctoral student of public health at the University of Houston but housed in El Paso. Like many, she was born and raised here. She said through gritted teeth the frustration at building a border wall.

“I understand the need for border security. I don’t think a wall is the best place to put funding into. I think there are better areas as far as border patrol training, amping up those types of services rather than building a wall, fence, whatever the debate is,” Huerta said.

Jose Manuel Flores, 39, and Liz Escobedo, 35, are married and cross the border constantly for work and school. They’re both doctoral students at the University of Texas at El Paso. They explain how not only would a wall be a misplacement of funds but how this type of barrier would disrupt the culture of their home, which is a mix of Juarez and El Paso.

Flores remembers the time when he was a child and crossing would be more casual, sometimes involving conversations with agents they encountered. They were “kinder,” he said, and “would talk with you even if there were long lines.”

“[The border wall] is a controversial topic. I remember when my grandmother said she use to cross without a visa,” Flores said. “There is no need for a wall.”

Escobedo explained that to live on the border means something different than living elsewhere. “To be fronterizo, borderlander, that concept implies a lot because your culture is very different from that of the rest of your country. It’s coming and going between the border, between two cities, and two countries. It is where language, culture, events, traditions, families and friends mix.”

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Categories: Blog

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