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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Updated: 47 min 47 sec ago

Youth Radio Raw: Revolution Radio Episode 1

October 17, 2017 - 3:28pm

Welcome to the 1st episode of Revolution Radio on Youth Radio Raw.

Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35pm!

On this show, you’ll hear recent news, personal experiences, and a diverse selection of music.

For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.

Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

Categories: Blog

Phones In Control? Here’s How Young People Can Take Charge

October 17, 2017 - 11:11am

Let’s be honest: a lot of us spend all day on our phones, hooked on our favorite apps. We keep typing and swiping, even when we know the risks phones can pose to our attention, privacy, and even our safety.  And those risks can be even bigger for teens. But the computers in our pockets also create untapped opportunities for young people to learn, connect and transform their communities by making their own mobile apps and learning what goes into blockbuster platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and more.

Youth Radio Interactive — the tech education and coding arm of Youth Radio — is where young people are jumping on those opportunities. Our Interactive program combines computer programming and journalism to develop new tools, and tell dynamic stories about issues facing their communities. And our Interactive crew is especially proud to work side by side with our partners at MIT App Inventor to flip the script on how the public understands young people and their phones. Youth Radio Interactive teens are reporting for national outlets on how young people use their phones in surprising and powerful ways. Meanwhile, the team at MIT are continually enhancing their tool, App Inventor, to make it possible even for novice computer programmers to create apps like the ones featured in Youth Radio’s reporting.

And today, we’re going open source: we’re announcing a series of App Building Guides, co-created by Youth Radio Interactive and MIT App Inventor, that enable millions of young app makers to create their own apps they can publish in the Google Play Store.

Our first App Building Guide is inspired by Youth Radio’s story about Snapchat. Teens understand Snapchat intuitively, while older people can — let’s be honest — be a little clueless about how it works. That’s why when Snap Inc. went public last spring, NPR turned to Youth Radio to help listeners bridge the generation gap and grasp the huge appeal of the app.

Now, our first App Builder Guide invites the over six million registered users of App Inventor to go under the hood and create their own customized “bootleg” versions of Snapchat with brand new functionality you won’t see in the public version.

Youth Radio’s collaboration with MIT is supported in part by the National Science Foundation, and these guides are our latest effort in seven years of teaching code. Youth Radio has long been at the forefront of the movement to get young people — particularly those less represented in the industry — on-ramped to careers in tech through training and workforce development. Youth Radio Interactive and our guides take this work to the next level by preparing young people in-house and worldwide to create apps and learn to code. Using App Inventor, the Youth Radio Interactive team has released several apps: Mood Ring, Run 4 Prez and Bucket Hustle. Now, we hope to get even more young people excited about mobile app design and development.

To see more apps created by Youth Radio Interactive, visit the Youth Radio Interactive portfolio.

Categories: Blog

I was rejected from every college I applied to…but I’m OK

October 15, 2017 - 8:00am

It’s the start of a new school year. I’m seeing my friends off to college. I thought I’d be going with them, but it didn’t work out that way.

I was rejected from all the universities I applied to. Just six very elite colleges and zero safety schools. When it became clear I wouldn’t be attending a four year college in the fall, I felt like I’d failed.

I kept thinking back on my dad’s graveyard shifts, my encouraging teachers, and the many hours I studied. It all felt wasted.

All throughout high school, I was told college was my next and only step. Being rejected opened my eyes to how many options there actually are.

I could go to Paris and study at Bows Arts. I could skip post-secondary education all together. The possibilities are overwhelming, but also exciting.

Part of me is bitter about missing out on the traditional freshman experience, but I’m also glad to sort out some of the confusion of transitioning to adulthood without the burden of a pricey tuition.

 

Categories: Blog

What Undocumented Berkeley Students Want From Congress

October 13, 2017 - 11:54am

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump released an immigration policy wish list to Congress that’s gotten a lot of people revved up about immigration all over again. Youth Radio asked some of the members of UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program what they want from Congress.

 

Courtesy of Juan Prieto

 

Daniela Amador, 19:

I say to Congress, we are no longer your bargaining chips. We won’t continue allowing you to capitalize on our fear. This movement goes beyond what you are willing to do for our community. It goes beyond legalities. This movement is for immigrant liberation and we will no longer wait for you to realize our humanity is valid. We’re done sleeping, we’re done dreaming, we’re awake and ready to fight for all 11 million.

 

 

Courtesy of Nadia Kim

 

Nadia Kim, 22:

I’m done complacently waiting for change. I’m done living under the pretense that Democrats will act justly on behalf of the integrity and liberation of my loved ones and myself. I’m done entrusting a capitalist government that solely values my community’s labor and productivity while it simultaneously exploits, detains, criminalizes, and dehumanizes the millions that don’t fit the Dreamer caricature.

 

 

Courtesy of Juan Prieto

 

Paola Mora, 21:

DACA was a temporary solution to a much larger structural problem in our immigration system, and it made a large portion of us undocumented youth complacent to the deportation of the rest of our community.

Often, Dreamers are deemed the “good immigrants” and in that connotation, anyone else [is one of] the “bad ones”– the “criminals.” Through that lens, my parents are categorized in the latter, but when I look at them I only see my heroes. Who would deliberately leave all their lives, their parents, their siblings and all they ever knew behind with no security at the other end? My parents. Who went 15+ years without being able to hug their mother or father? My parents. Who had to hear the news that their mother and father passed away without being able to hug them one last time? My parents.

 

 

Courtesy of Maria Atanacio

 

Valeria Suarez, 21:

Asking for our parents and our community members to not be deported while we are fighting for the DREAM Act is not asking for the world, it is asking for the bare minimum. If we are to fight, we must fight for all 11 million undocumented lives and fighting for a clean DREAM Act is only the start.

 

 

Categories: Blog

Why We Need Gun Control: How I Almost Lost My Dad To Gun Violence

October 12, 2017 - 10:27am

On October 1st, Stephen Paddock, 64, allegedly began firing into a crowd of about 22,000 people during a concert at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The shooting left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured, making it the deadliest shooting in modern American history.

News of the Las Vegas shooting was heartbreaking, but sadly, it wasn’t shocking. Teens like me have become accustomed to acts of violence like this in America. Depending on how you count, there have been more than 200 mass shootings so far in 2017 alone. My peers and I have grown up constantly hearing about the threat of gun violence. Several of my peers consume news about shootings with a nonchalance that is almost frightening. But it’s not something that I can merely brush away.

News of shootings like the one in Las Vegas stick with me because I actually know what it feels like to be inside of a family that has experienced a loved one being shot. 

When I was in the 4th grade, my father was leaving a concert when an unidentified man pulled up beside him and began firing. My dad suffered multiple injuries to his body and a severe head injury. No one thought he would survive.

I can still remember the fear and worry that clawed at me when I heard the news. I was only 10 years old at the time, and home alone with my younger brother. We were laughing and watching TV when I received the call from my dad’s girlfriend. I had to break the news to my mom, praying that I could remain calm enough to report the news without breaking down and scaring my brother.

My dad survived being shot, but he became legally blind.  His shooting changed my perspective on many things, especially gun violence.

In the wake of shootings like the one in Las Vegas, I sympathize with what the families’ of the victims are experiencing, because I still remember my own raw confusion and anger. It’s incomprehensible why someone would try to take away another person’s life, or to rob another person of her father. I don’t think the person holding the gun can truly understand that they’re taking away someone who is loved.

It makes me crave justice–and not the kind that comes in the form of chaos and more violence. I want a kind of justice that doesn’t just end with the death of Stephen Paddock.

The only thing that will truly deliver justice to the victims of gun violence is gun control.  I feel that our country’s lax gun laws have given gun owners the power to make life or death choices for others. I’m frustrated by the thought that so many lives could have been saved, and yet the government refuses to act on it. This inaction is disgusting to the families of the victims of gun violence. How many more deaths will it take for our government to hear our cries for help?

In my eyes, my father is a constant reminder of gun violence. I feel the effects of his shooting every day. The fact that he will never get to see me walk across the stage and receive my diploma still breaks my heart. And in the wake of shootings like the one in Las Vegas, it also makes me  determined to do more than send thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. Because I know from personal experience, if we don’t act on gun control now, more lives could be destroyed. 

 

 

Categories: Blog

I Was Adopted Into A White Family

October 8, 2017 - 8:00am

As a kid, I didn’t care that my adopted mom was a different race than me. But as I got older, race became more important.

It was during an event at the Oakland Zoo that I met my future mom for the first time.   This tall Caucasian woman walked up to me and offered me a slice of pizza. After several months of getting to know each other, she eventually adopted me. 

It wasn’t important to me that I was a Black kid with a White mom until people started staring at us every time we went out.

A kid asked me one, “Is that your mom?”

It was awkward. I said, “No, that’s my babysitter.”

A lot changed when I went to school with other Black kids. I started dating someone who related to everything I’ve gone through. I felt like I could finally open up to someone.

Overtime, I’ve learned to love my skin color. I’m proud that I was born African-American. I can now start to explain to my family–though they may never understand, Black lives matter, the way I do.

Categories: Blog

Dynamic Leader Jabari Gray Is Youth Radio’s New Executive Director

October 4, 2017 - 11:23am

We’re thrilled to announce that Jabari Gray is stepping into a new leadership role as Executive Director of Youth Radio, at a time when young people are increasingly driving conversations about what it means to build a more equitable and just society. He will join Ellin O’Leary, Youth Radio’s President and Chief Content Officer in leading Youth Radio’s growth as we embark on an exciting new four-year strategic plan, with the goal of propelling the organization as a national media leader.

Gray has been key to building the foundation of the organization during the past decade that Youth Radio has been based in Oakland. A knack for developing leaders, along with creative problem-solving, launched Gray from his first role in Youth Radio’s development department to Deputy Director in 2014. Gray’s leadership is widely recognized as pivotal to Youth Radio’s dramatic expansion, rooted in the mission to revolutionize how youth tell stories and the ways people connect with next-generation journalists and artists.

“Gray has a unique style, holding the bar high while supporting staff and students in the creation of high-impact responses to the young people’s needs and talents. This entrepreneurial skill is central to what makes him a great Executive Director,” says Ellin O’Leary, President and Chief Content Officer.

Youth Radio Executive Director Jabari Gray

“Youth Radio sets the gold standard in youth-driven media, and it is my full intention to protect and grow its legacy in my new role,” says Gray. “This is a company that actually delivers on its promise to bring honest, diverse, and compelling content to American audiences. For the last 25 years, Youth Radio has assembled teams and partnerships that provide the best out-of-school digital communication education around, consistently producing award-winning journalism.”

Beyond its critical role of providing education, technical training, and professional development for emerging media talent, Gray says the organization serves a larger purpose, creating a crucial platform for young people at this defining moment in our nation’s history.

“Young people’s voices are beacons,” he says. “And we need that beacon more today than at any point in my lifetime. They’re leading the fight against white supremacy, standing up for DACA and immigrant rights, embracing gender equality and fluidity, and more. Youth Radio is stirring artistic expression that moves the needle in public discourse. And you will see us going to the next level, becoming the nerve center of a nationwide network.” Gray explains that involves further expanding Youth Radio’s distribution through media partnerships with The New York Times, Teen Vogue, NPR, and others, as well as developing Youth Radio’s own platforms as a destination for youth-driven stories that can’t be found anywhere else.

 In addition to helping Youth Radio scale its impact as an organization, Gray has encouraged countless individuals to develop their own voices during his time at the organization. Sheila Blandon was one of the many talented young leaders Gray recognized and helped to succeed. She was a participant in the Pathways program — a nine-month digital communications workforce training program that Gray helped create.

 After becoming involved with Youth Radio, Blandon dove into local community organizing, managing a candidate’s winning school board campaign, and helped others launch new nonprofits and businesses. Blandon credits these wins to Youth Radio, and especially to the trust Gray showed her. “I’ve been able to soar because of the things he taught me and the support he provided,” she said.

 And Blandon isn’t alone. She says her experience is emblematic of what so many young people involved with Youth Radio take away from their time here.

 “This organization opens up so many different doors for young people and provides skills that I don’t think others are providing for youth right now. Youth Radio is filling that void. It becomes not just a place to learn, but a second home — I know it was for me,” she said.

 We hope you will join everyone at Youth Radio and all the communities we serve in welcoming Jabari Gray to his new role, and ushering in a new and exciting era for next-generation storytelling and youth-driven media.

Categories: Blog

7 Reactions To The Las Vegas Shooting Besides “Thoughts And Prayers”

October 3, 2017 - 5:48pm

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 people. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. As details of the tragedy emerged, the nation’s top politicians reacted by sending variations on “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and the Las Vegas community.

My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017


But for many young people, who have grown up against the backdrop of mass shootings, thoughts and prayers may not seem like enough. So what other options are there for people who want to DO SOMETHING?

We’ve compiled a short list of ways you can take action, no matter where you are in the country.

1. Educate Yourself.

Knowledge is power, y’all. See how U.S. gun laws have changed over time, and learn about your state’s gun laws compare. From Everytown.org.

2. Call Your Representatives.

Note that we said call, not email or write. If you have opinions on gun restrictions or other policy changes that you feel would make the community safer, actually getting on the phone with your representative’s office and letting them know how you feel is the one of the best ways to get your voice heard. Lower the intimdation factor by getting friends together to hit those phone lines. Look up your representatives and get help on your call scripts here.

3. Give Blood.

If you’re able to, giving blood is a great way to help. Bonus that it’s something you can do matter where you are located. Keep in mind though, blood isn’t just needed in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Consider donating even in the coming weeks and months when those donation lines thin out.

4. Listen.

There are lots of people out there who have been touched by this tragedy. Take the time to listen to friends and family who have been touched by gun violence and/or are having a hard time with the unfolding crisis.

5. Donate To Victims.

Whether it’s contributing money to the families shooting victims, the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, or other worth causes, contributing money is one way to help those who have been affected by tragedy. The Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak has set up a fund to victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The Hispanic Federation has a disaster relief fund for Puerto Rico and Mexico. Do your research to make sure the fund and organization is legit.

6. Organize

There are many groups you can join that organize around issues like gun violence. Ask about local chapters or consider starting your own!

7. Self Care.

Sometimes, thinking about all the problems in the world can feel exhausting or overwhelming. Note your feelings and take care of yourself and others so you have the energy to continue making change. You may want to consider talking to a mental health professional. Check out Teen Vogue’s self-care guide for those who have witnessed violence.

 

Categories: Blog

7 Reactions To The Las Vegas Shooting Besides “Thoughts And Prayers”

October 3, 2017 - 11:02am

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 people. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  As details of the tragedy emerged, the nation’s top politicians reacted by sending variations on “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and the Las Vegas community.

My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017


But for many young people, who have grown up against the backdrop of mass shootings, thoughts and prayers may not seem like enough. So what other options are there for people who want to DO SOMETHING?

We’ve compiled a short list of ways you can take action, no matter where you are in the country.

1. Educate Yourself.

Knowledge is power, y’all. See how U.S. gun laws have changed over time, and learn about your state’s gun laws compare. From Everytown.org.

2. Call Your Representatives.

Note that we said call, not email or write. If you have opinions on gun restrictions or other policy changes that you feel would make the community safer, actually getting on the phone with your representative’s office and letting them know how you feel is the one of the best ways to get your voice heard. Lower the intimdation factor by getting friends together to hit those phone lines. Look up your representatives and get help on your call scripts here.

3. Give Blood.

If you’re able to, giving blood is a great way to help. Bonus that it’s something you can do matter where you are located. Keep in mind though, blood isn’t just needed in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Consider donating even in the coming weeks and months when those donation lines thin out.

4. Listen.

There are lots of people out there who have been touched by this tragedy. Take the time to listen to friends and family who have been touched by gun violence and/or are having a hard time with the unfolding crisis.

5. Donate To Victims.

Whether it’s contributing money to the families shooting victims, the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, or other worth causes, contributing money is one way to help those who have been affected by tragedy. The Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak has set up a fund to victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The Hispanic Federation has a disaster relief fund for Puerto Rico and Mexico. Do your research to make sure the fund and organization is legit.

6. Organize

There are many groups you can join that organize around issues like gun violence. Ask about local chapters or consider starting your own!

7. Self Care.

Sometimes, thinking about all the problems in the world can feel exhausting or overwhelming. Note your feelings and take care of yourself and others so you have the energy to continue making change. You may want to consider talking to a mental health professional. Check out Teen Vogue’s self-care guide for those who have witnessed violence.

 

Categories: Blog

The Free Speech Week That Wasn’t

October 2, 2017 - 1:01pm

Last week UC Berkeley was the center of another controversial event. Here’s what it was like for a student just trying to get through midterms.

Categories: Blog

The Free Speech Week That Wasn’t

October 2, 2017 - 1:01pm

Last week UC Berkeley was the center of another controversial event. Here’s what it was like for a student just trying to get through midterms.

Categories: Blog

Just Reading The News Isn’t Enough

October 1, 2017 - 8:00am
Photo Courtesy of Caribb via Flickr

When Time magazine arrived at my home every week, I used to read through articles as I slowly munched away at my breakfast.

I felt that I had a responsibility to know what was happening in my country. It made me feel like I could easily jump into conversations about politics.

But one day, during a class debate about Obamacare, I found myself spewing off sentences from an article I had read — even though I didn’t fully understand it. But, there I was, arguing the author’s perspective like it was my own. Unconsciously, my thoughts and the information I had read had melded together.

Since then, I’ve become more critical of the news. I read multiple articles on the same topic and don’t settle for the first piece of information I find. I used to think that I was fulfilling my civic duty by staying up to date with the news. But now I know it’s  important to understand the news, not just hear about it.

 

 

Categories: Blog

Just Reading The News Isn’t Enough

October 1, 2017 - 8:00am

Photo Courtesy of Caribb via Flickr

When Time magazine arrived at my home every week, I used to read through articles as I slowly munched away at my breakfast.

I felt that I had a responsibility to know what was happening in my country. It made me feel like I could easily jump into conversations about politics.

But one day, during a class debate about Obamacare, I found myself spewing off sentences from an article I had read — even though I didn’t fully understand it. But, there I was, arguing the author’s perspective like it was my own. Unconsciously, my thoughts and the information I had read had melded together.

Since then, I’ve become more critical of the news. I read multiple articles on the same topic and don’t settle for the first piece of information I find. I used to think that I was fulfilling my civic duty by staying up to date with the news. But now I know it’s important to understand the news, not just hear about it.

 

 

Categories: Blog

In The Mountains Of Kentucky: Life Measured In Quality, Not Quantity

September 28, 2017 - 4:15pm

Earlier this year, the Washington Post published an article about varying life expectancy rates in the United States. Of the ten counties whose life expectancy rate has dropped the most since 1980, eight of them are in Kentucky. Including from where commentator Emily Collier hails. 

In the corner of Letcher County, Kentucky stands the city of Whitesburg. Inhabited by around 2,000 people, this town is nothing but lively. It is home to many social events and festivals such as Mountain Heritage, Seedtime on the Cumberland, and Mayfest. It is also known for its many beautiful landmarks and mountain ranges like Pine Mountain, Little Shepherd’s Trail, and Bad Branch Falls.

There is a feeling of community in this area. Everyone knows everyone, everyone treats you like family, and everyone is kind. This community is filled by graduates, college attendees, workers, business owners, artists, writers, and photographers. These are the people that keep this area thriving. They do not flee when they read articles such as this one, they only become more motivated to show the world wrong.

There were a few reasons listed in the article that could explain why our life expectancy rate has dropped so drastically in the past few years. Health complications due to obesity, low income, and inability to attain affordable health care.

Obesity is not a common issue here in the mountains. We are raised playing or working outside in the mountain air, whether it be tending a garden or playing a game of tag with the neighbor’s children. We are bred to enjoy fresh vegetables like tomatoes, mustard greens, and cabbage. Even though some of us are not fortunate enough to raise our own gardens, we have a neighbor down the road that is usually willing to lend a helping hand.

Southeast Kentucky is stereotyped to be this poor and empty region, and while we are not a booming metropolis, we do have business. Whitesburg is a growing town, with small businesses and restaurants opening frequently. People from all over America travel here to experience mountain life and culture here in Appalachia.

Image: Emily Collier

Although most of us are not considered poor, we are middle-class citizens. We do what we can to get by. This means that some of us do not have health insurance to cover doctor’s visits, dental visits, or eye visits. I have had type one diabetes since I was around nine years old and I am fortunately fully covered, but if I wasn’t, it would take over $1,000 each month to keep me alive. Health insurance should be a basic right, not a luxury item. Other countries around the world provide free healthcare for all no matter the condition. To be one of the most advanced countries in the world, we have an altered view on healthcare.

We have statistics challenging us to leave our area and find a better one, but as the saying goes: there’s no place like home. There’s no place I’d rather be than right here in the mountains, and even though we don’t have as much as everyone else, we still make it. Never be ashamed of where you’re from, no matter how bad the world wants you to be, and never forget where you come from because you will be thankful for all of it one day.

Categories: Blog

Learning To Pitch The New York Times

September 28, 2017 - 2:41pm
The New York Times‘ Natalie Shutler (fourth from left) poses with Youth Radio staff and students. (Youth Radio)

Natalie Shutler, editor of The New York Times‘ On Campus section, led an amazing workshop for Youth Radio students this month entitled “Writing Essays for National Media Outlets.” Natalie gave students and staff a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process of the nation’s leading news source.

Natalie Shutler (standing) shares her insight with Youth Radio student and staff. (Youth Radio)

The workshop was a fantastic opportunity for our students to get advice straight from an editor at The New York Times, in-person. As part of her work with the On Campus section, Shutler regularly edits work from college students all over the country. Her insight into what national media publications are looking for is an invaluable resource. She shared stories from her work at The New York Times, including what it’s like to be a young editor in one of the most high-profile newsrooms in the world.

Shutler also edited Noel Anaya’s “Life in College After a Life in Foster Care” earlier this year for the On Campus section, giving a Youth Radio student a major platform for very personal work. The essay was well-received, resulting in an outpouring of financial support and work opportunities for Noel.

Both current and former students — along with staff members — participated in the workshop held at the Youth Radio Arts Venue in downtown Oakland.

“Natalie was very helpful and offered a lot of great advice,” said Stella Lau, Youth Radio Intern. “I learned a lot about what makes a good story for the The New York Times. I really appreciate her coming and speaking with us.”

Youth Radio is only the second place to have access to Natalie’s behind-the-scenes insights; she piloted the workshop with a Princeton University class this summer. Youth Radio was honored to have her choose our students to participate.

“It was an incredible opportunity for Youth Radio’s students to learn from a top-tier editor on how to write interesting and thought-provoking pieces,” said Youth Radio producer Maya Cueva. “Natalie’s workshop on how to write essays for national outlets like the The New York Times was very insightful.”

If you’re a high school or college-aged writer with a story you want to tell on the national stage, Youth Radio is looking for you. Contact us at pitch@youthradio.org.

 

Categories: Blog

Rethinking the Rejection Letter

September 28, 2017 - 8:00am
Stella Lau (Photo credit: Maya Cueva)

It’s the start of a new school year. I’m seeing my friends off to college. I thought I’d be going with them. But it didn’t work out that way.

I was rejected from all the universities I applied to: just six very elite colleges and zero safety schools. I don’t know, it was probably an ego thing. I thought that I was too good for state schools. Also, I aspire to be an artist. There’s not exactly a straight path. And I didn’t want to admit I didn’t know what I was doing, so I fumbled by myself through the application process.

When it became clear I wouldn’t be attending a four-year college in the fall, I felt like I’d failed. I kept thinking back on my dad’s graveyard shifts, my encouraging teachers, and the many hours I studied. It all felt wasted on somebody who couldn’t get into even one college.

I mentally prepared myself for negative comments: that I was stupid, a failure, a disappointment. But when I started opening up to friends and teachers, they comforted me and reassured me that the efforts spent on my education hadn’t gone to waste. Their support helped me move on.

All throughout high school, I was told college was my next and only step. Being rejected opened my eyes to how many options there actually are. I could go to Paris and study at Beaux Arts. I could attend trade school. I could skip post-secondary education altogether. The possibilities are overwhelming, but also exciting.

For now, I’ve enrolled in community college. Part of me is bitter about missing out on the traditional freshman. But i’m also glad to sort out some of the confusion of transitioning to adulthood, without the burden of a pricey tuition.

After having my life completely structured for 18 years, it’s up to me now. To be honest, I feel liberated, if still a teeny bit scared.

With a Perspective, I’m Stella Lau.

Categories: Blog

7 Celebrities You Might Run Into On Campus

September 27, 2017 - 3:10pm

School is back in session, and at some campuses, that means celebrity sightings. Yes, in addition to having security and dealing with paparazzi, young celebrities are also trying to adjust to dorm life and juggling classes just like you.

So which celebrities are currently collegebound? We’ve got the campus round up:

Malia Obama

Fans are curious if #MaliaObama still has secret service now that #DonaldTrump is President. Link in bio to find out!??(?: Getty Images)

A post shared by Closer Weekly (@closerweekly) on Aug 25, 2017 at 12:29pm PDT

Easily the most recognizable member of Harvard’s Class of 2021, Malia’s prolific gap year ended this summer with a move in day that involved both of her parents and  a solid amount of secret service agents.

Yara Shahidi

?”Girl with a vase, a concept”

A post shared by Yara (يارا‎) Shahidi (@yarashahidi) on Aug 25, 2017 at 5:52pm PDT

Sure she’s on Black-ish, but Yara took the college application process all the way, with a letter of recommendation from no other than former First Lady Michelle Obama herself. Fitting that she’ll be joining Malia Obama at Harvard this fall.

Lourdes Leon

@madonna wearing #adidasOriginalsxAW with #LourdesLeon in the ‘Strict’ embroidery angora turtleneck, front row at the #WANGSS17 show. #WANGSQUAD

A post shared by ALEXANDER WANG (@alexanderwangny) on Nov 29, 2016 at 7:58am PST

Other than at Fashion Week, Madonna’s daughter is rarely seen out in public. But she can be found studying at her mom’s Alma Mater, the University of Michigan.

LiAngelo “Gelo” Ball

Not your ordinary film or movie..?

A post shared by LiAngelo Ball (@gelo) on Aug 28, 2017 at 8:48pm PDT

Part of LaVar Ball’s “Master Plan” was to get all three of his sons into the NBA – via UCLA. So far he’s two for two, with Gelo joining the Bruins for the 2017-18 season.

Johnny Lowe

Tonight, on a new episode of #thelowefiles , I take lots of heat for my outfit choice. Plz comment words of support, thanks.

A post shared by John Owen Lowe (@johnnylowe) on Sep 6, 2017 at 11:55am PDT

Part of Stanford’s class of ‘18, Johnny balances schoolwork while starring alongside his dad, Rob Lowe, in The Grinder, and the more recent Lowe Files, tracking down unsolved mysteries.

Amandla Stenberg

Bein’ sweet captured by sweety pie @nicholas.claridge

A post shared by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on Jul 8, 2017 at 5:00pm PDT

Hunger Games actor Amandla Stenberg can do anything she wants – and they want to make films.  So it makes sense that NYU’s Film School is the perfect fit for the intersectional feminist who often appears on Teen Vogue’s cover.

Ariel Winter

Tonight I’m on CONAN!!!! I may or may not make weird voices and share funny stories about growing up on Modern Family…so tune in ;)

A post shared by ARIEL WINTER (@arielwinter) on Apr 12, 2017 at 5:36pm PDT

We watched Ariel grow up on Modern Family – and now we’re watching her pursue her dreams at UCLA. She’s said she wants to study political science and law, which is a choice Alex Dunphy would probably approve of.

 

Categories: Blog

My Parents Are Too Scared To Let Me Drive

September 27, 2017 - 11:00am

In life, there are a handful of milestones: first words, first steps, first day of school. But when you miss out on a coming-of-age moment, it can feel pretty sucky.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to drive. I remember zooming around the backyard in a plastic toy car, my tiny feet propelling me Flintstones-style. And now that I’m 17, I’m even more eager to get behind the wheel.

But the reality is, I’m nowhere close to having my driver’s license. It’s because my parents are scared.

My mom has a friend whose teenaged daughter died when her car flipped on an exit ramp close to our house. My parents offer to drive me–the only problem is they’re not always free when I need to be somewhere. So my social life depends on my parents’ availability.

My parents and I have come to an agreement–I’ll wait until I’m 18 to drive. As much as I want to have my license, I realize there are a lot of responsibilities that come with that privilege.  

So for now, I’ll leave growing up for further down the road.

 

Categories: Blog

Alt-What? Understanding the Rebranding of White Supremacy

September 26, 2017 - 10:56am
Illustration: Desmond Meagley

Even after “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley was called off, far-right media personality Milos Yiannopoulos appeared on campus for a matter of minutes on Sunday. Security for his brief appearance cost the university $800,000. As terms like “free speech,” “alt-right,” and “white nationalist” are thrown around, we wanted to take look at terminology. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks the tactics and growth of hate groups, particularly on college campuses. We spoke to Lecia Brooks, outreach director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama.

Q: What is the alt-right and why is it so visible right now?

LB: The alt-right is just a rebranding, a new name for white supremacists. So when someone says “alt-right,” it’s a term that was that was created by this man named Richard Spencer. He also sometimes refers to himself as a white nationalist. “White nationalist” is also a term that is a rebranding of white supremacy.

So basically they’re white supremacists. They advocate for what they call a white ethnostate, which means white people in control of the government in the land.

Q: And why is branding important?

LB: Well, you know, probably the terms “white supremacist” or “Klan” or those kinds of things are in some people’s minds dated. Richard Spencer said that they need to present themselves as kind of intellectual and smart and they should dress nicely and be well spoken.

So this new term is also kind of catchy. It doesn’t reveal them as as white supremacists instantly. And it’s just a new way to to brand yourself. Businesses do that when sales are slow. So this is a way to bring in new people and, in particular, college students.

Q: For many people, this branch of white supremacists seems to have come from nowhere. Did they rise very quickly, or are they just much more visible right now?

LB: They’re much more visible right now, and they are growing, because of how hate is now kind of widespread across the Internet. [There are] online forums like the Daily Stormfront, where people can join in conversations and be fed a steady diet of racism and anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant sentiment.

There was a definite increase in hate group activity and hate group membership when Obama won the presidency. And this was the first time when people thought, “Oh my gosh, we’re losing power, white people are losing power.” So they [were] working underground during the Obama years, in waiting for someone like Trump, who speaks to their desire to put America first, which is a nationalist viewpoint that concentrates on the homeland, but it’s definitely also pro-white.

Q: What kind of tactics are they using to recruit?

LB: Well, over the summer, they’ve done a lot of flyering on college campuses. Groups, like Identity Europa just rose out of the ashes like a year ago. They were originally an online group that now has a physical presence.

They have essentially been papering and covering colleges and universities up and down California for the last year. They’re talking about this notion of white genocide and white folks need to stand up for themselves…especially on college campuses. “Lean into the notion of white privilege…We’re reclaiming what is what is ours.” Their rhetoric is pretty out there. They try to present themselves as conservative leaders, when they’re really just pushing white supremacy.

Q: Why do you think they’re targeting college campuses?

LB: They’re trying to get young white men to join their cause. They think that it’s an age where people are individuating and trying to figure things out.

Oftentimes, on college campuses, young white men don’t feel a part of the whole push by colleges and universities around diversity and inclusion. And they are a vulnerable population.

Q: How are women involved?

It’s interesting because it’s a very misogynistic, sexist enterprise. It’s amazing, women are involved, but their involvement hasn’t evolved much since the ‘50s.

But I should say that it’s an important support role, and they are always there. So white women in particular don’t get off the hook, because they do uphold white supremacy.

Q: But I’m kind of curious what kind of rhetoric they use. Would you mind trying to recruit me using their rhetoric?

LB: “Well, you know all these immigrants are just taking over the country. Look in California. You know you can barely see white people anymore. There’s no all-white neighborhoods. They’ve taken over the schools the schools are awful.

“Everything is dangerous, gang violence is everywhere, and they’re the cause of it. We see places closing down, businesses leaving…I don’t even recognize California anymore….We’re quickly becoming a minority and we’re being pushed aside. All I hear from from politicians in California is, ‘What about the Latinos?’ And you know they never say anything about me. No one cares about the white man anymore.”

Q: Wow. Not that many people can do that on command.

LB: As we saw in Charlottesville, since the Trump presidency, the far right has been emboldened. They’re just out and proud and in plain sight. 

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

Categories: Blog

Desegrated But Not Integrated: 60 Years After Little Rock Nine

September 25, 2017 - 6:55am

Sixty years ago, nine black teenagers enrolled in the all-white Central High School, after the Supreme Court decided to strike down racial segregation laws. They went down in history as the Little Rock Nine. Youth Radio’s Zia Tollette is a junior at Central High. She looks back at the Little Rock Nine’s sacrifices, which made her own attendance at Central High possible. 

When I was younger, the Little Rock Nine were recurring characters in my life. Growing up, there was even a painting of them in my house that hung over one of the windows. When I was little I would look up at it as my parents would tell me stories about the Nine and their sacrifices.

“It truly devastated our family unit,” said Phyllis Brown. She’s the sister of Minnijean Brown, one of the Little Rock Nine.  

Every year at Central High, my classmates and I revisit the story of the Nine, conducting oral history interviews with elders about civil rights here in Little Rock.

In a news clip dated back to 1957, a reporter asks a white Central High student, “What about you sir, do you think the colored students will show up?”

The student answers, “Well, if I have anything to do with it, they won’t show up.”

Phyllis Brown says her sister and the other Little Rock Nine students were harassed, threatened, kicked, spat upon, called names, and pushed down the steps by other students at Central High. “It should have been a natural thing,” Brown said. “Like, ‘We’re just going to school.'”

It’s crazy when I think about how the Little Rock Nine were my age–just teenagers–when they were met with this angry, racist mob at my school. The governor of Arkansas at the time even called in the National Guard to keep the nine out. President Dwight Eisenhower eventually had to call in the 101st Airborne Division to protect the black teenagers.

Eisenhower said at the time, “Such an extreme situation has been created in Little Rock. This challenge has to be met and with such measures as will preserve to the people in the whole, their lawfully protected rights in a climate permitting their free and fair exercise.”

Looking back, Phyllis Brown asks, “Why does it take an army to escort nine compared to 2500 students at Central to go to school? So what happens is that your everyday aspect of life is disrupted and corrupted.”

It’s been 60 years since the Little Rock Nine broke color barriers in education. But, living here, it doesn’t feel that long ago. Central is desegregated. But, like many schools across the nation, it’s not exactly integrated. These divisions are clear cut: black students eat in the cafeteria, white students eat on the patio. Central has AP, or advanced placement, classes, but those classes tend to be mostly white.

As a biracial black and white female, it can feel like I exist between two worlds. Even though people of different races go to the same schools in 2017, we are not necessarily living in the same version of America. So every year, when my classmates and I revisit the story of the Little Rock Nine, I don’t just celebrate the freedoms we’ve won. I think about the battles still to come.

To see more about Youth Radio’s partnership with Central High School in Arkansas honoring the teens of Little Rock Nine, visit our website and check out a Twitter re-enactment of the events of 60 years ago.

Categories: Blog

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