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.

  • Welcome to the new YR.

    by Julia Malta-Weingard

    We are YR, a national network of young journalists and artists creating content for this generation.  We link up with our peers around the country to amplify award-winning stories and creative perspectives that matter.

    If you are a student, a young artist or writer, an activist, a parent, a teacher, or someone who believes in the power of this generation, you are in the right place. Hang out and explore our reporting and creative content on politics, identity, and rising artists.

    If you like what you see, you can check out ways to join us at our headquarters in Oakland or as a national correspondent.

    Looking for Youth Radio? For 25 years, our non-profit production company has invested in future generations to build crucial skills in journalism, arts and media. YR is an evolution of Youth Radio: a new destination for daily news and arts coverage, national features on emerging artists and youth-driven movements, documentary content, a podcast, and much more. More on that transition here.

  • Visual Voices: Accepting my Latina Identity

    by Pablo De La Hoya

    Lucia Barnum has always gone by Lucy at school unaware of the story she was re-writing. Now she is unapologetically                  accepting both along with her Latina identity.

  • RYL Presents: Marteen

    by Maeven McGovern

    YR Media’s Remix Your Life hosts the listening party for up and coming artist Marteen’s latest project.

  • Ready to Vote?

    by Asha Richardson

    The midterm election is November 6! This is your chance to make a real impact on the political climate, as this election decides which party – Democrats or Republicans – will control the United States Congress.

    Are you ready to hit the polls? For first-time voters, the electoral process isn’t always the easiest to follow.

    Take this quiz to see how much you know about the voting process!

  • Extraterrestrial Episode 1: Equinox

    by Rohit Reddy

    YR Media’s Sonic Sphere

    Produced by 7sinz & Marcel Cedeno.            Visuals by Julia Tello & Jacob Armenta

  • Discovering RYL Pt. 1

    by Maeven McGovern

    YR presents Remix Your Life. Here’s a little taste of what’s to come, enjoy the trailer and come back often to check out all our new content

  • Humid Rooftop

    by Maeven McGovern

    One of the more polarizing experiences I’ve had out here, being on the East Coast as opposed to the West, is the sudden changes in humidity. One day I’ll be hot as all hell sweating up my clothes, and the next I’m swimming through the street because of the heavy-ass rain. Constantly through it all though: the humid air. Whether it’s raining, blazing hot, day or night, you can count on the humidity wrapping you up like an empanada. These songs are some songs I’ve experienced sitting, late night, on my roof, in the humid night. So a lot of dramatic-ass music being listened to… granted, alone on a rooftop in the AM, it’s not like ima be slapping Justin Bieber.

     Yves Tumor is an artist I discovered through the FEELS VI Festival.  His performance scrambled the brains of the thousands in attendance with feedback and distortion. Oddly enough, his recorded music is much more chilled and honestly just really good.

    This Blue Foundation trip-hop track was in my life hella long ago and I recently found it again in my spotify library. Nostalgia is tasty.

    Beach House is one dramatic-ass duo and they basically make the soundtrack to the moment for sad people. It’s Lit!  

    Beach House – Black Car

    Sade…. is my god. That’s all I gotta say. Tattoo coming someday soon.

    Sade – Cherish the Day

    Connan Mockasin is one weird ass person and this song is pretty fire.

    Connan Mockasin – Con Conn Was Impatient

    Myth Syzer is a French human that produces and sings. Not sure how I came across this but the mood of the whole track creates a dreamy synth-filled vibe that that is perfect for just staring at the lights of the city.

    Myth Syzer – Le Code

    Kanye West blew my whole life up when i first heard this song. It’s honestly kinda sad to me just like a lot of the songs on Late Registration. One of my favorite tracks ever though honestly.

    Kanye West – Addiction

    Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad killed the whole game with this track. It’s modern jazz thriving and growing.

    Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – Gate 54

    Tyler the Creator used to be like a little silly gremlin but now has evolved into a majestic beast of an artist. It’s great to see his talent expand, and this track is a testament to how his new sound is definitely his own.

    Tyler the Creator – Peach Fuzz

    Goldlink doesn’t make much serious music but this song definitely stood out to me from his other tracks. I like dramatic music what else can I say.

    Goldlink – When I Die

    Well these are just some tracks that fit my oddly specific mood and moments, but they’re all tracks that I can listen to and say that they have a place in my memories now. Each one of these songs were played on one of many nights i’ve spent on my roof in the humidity, staring out over the edge into the cit. One of the most beautiful aspects of music is that one song can represent a moment of time for you, bringing you back to that feeling of the time you listened to it. Enjoy!

  • 5 Moments in Hispanic American History You Need To Know

    by LaToya Tooles

    As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, Latinx Americans across the country have taken the time to honor many important figures that have shaped American history. But one month just isn’t enough time to celebrate the many unsung and important individuals and moments that make up America but don’t get nearly enough credit.

    In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, below are some forgotten icons and moments that you probably didn’t learn about in your history class.   

    Mexican-American War

    Mexico used to be huge. It expanded as far north as modern-day Oregon and included California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. But the United States sort of needed that land in order to fulfill its “manifest destiny.” Something you probably have heard of.

    In 1845 the US used a land dispute in Texas to send troops into the west. Eventually, Mexican forces fired on the US, serving as the justification President James Polk needed to wage a two-year war with Mexico.

    The Mexican government, which had been established not even 40 years prior, lacked the military strength required to defeat the much larger American forces. In the end, Mexico was forced to sign away more than half of its territory, drastically decreasing the size of Mexico and expanding the US to “from sea to shining sea.”

    Zoot Suit Riots of 1943

    During the 1940’s, Los Angeles was deeply segregated. White-American communities, with many fighting in WWII, began to see Latino youth, often found wearing the stylish zoot suit, as delinquents and anti-American. Zoot suits took a lot of fabric to look good and a lot of fabric was “unAmerican.”

    This growing resentment boiled over in the summer of 1943, a fight broke out between servicemen and some of the young “zoot suiters.” They began viciously attacking anyone who wore the infamous suit, including African-Americans and Filipino-Americans.

    These attacks would be carried out throughout the Los Angeles area and would involve several thousand servicemen, police officers, and civilians. They lasted several days, and left hundreds beaten and humiliated, as many of them were forced to strip naked in the middle of the street.

    LGBT Activism

    Queer history being limited in schools as it is, you probably didn’t learn about the Stonewall Riots or the trans activist thought to have inspired them.

    Sylvia Rivera was born in 1951 in the Bronx, her father was Puerto Rican and her mother Venezuelan. Abandoned at an orphanage at a young age, she was forced into sex work to survive at 11.

    As a bold, self-identified drag queen, she was outspoken and a no b.s. kind of person. She looked out for her fellow poor, queer and trans friends. It is widely believed that it was her and a fellow transgender activist, Marsha P. Johnson, who threw the first stones during the historic Stonewall Riots in June of 1969.

    After the riots, Sylvia Rivera began participating in social movements such as the Gay Liberation Movement and Young Lords, a Puerto Rican community organization. She would eventually form an organization, the Street Transvestite Active Revolutionary, or STAR for short. She would be pushed even more to the margins of society, as the LGBT movement became mainstream and the T in LGBT became forgotten. Sylvia’s story reminds us that when we fight for oppressed people, we must fight for all oppressed people and to remember those who have fought so hard for us now.

    Chicano Activism

    In the late 1960’s the Brown Berets were formed in East Los Angeles to resolve issues plaguing the Chicano community. A target for ongoing police threats and raids, the Brown Berets sought to uplift their community through social programs like the El Barrio Free Clinic founded in 1968. Members donned the brown beret and other militaristic clothing, an idea borrowed from another revolutionary group: The Black Panther Party.

    Both organizations sought an end to police brutality, systemic racism, educational and income inequality, and much more. Still active today, but with a membership that has dramatically declined over the years, the Brown Berets has various chapters across the U.S advocating for and supporting communities of color, especially the undocumented community all over the US.

    Immigration Reform

    As it turns out, it was not a Democratic president who would give amnesty to 2.7 million undocumented immigrants. It was Republican President Ronald Reagan. Even more surprising, it was a truly bipartisan effort.

    The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 or the IRCA, was introduced by Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Democratic Senator Romano Mazzoli and passed the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate.

    However, not everything in this bill was great for immigrants. Although the bill legalized millions of undocumented immigrants, not just Latin American but also Asian, Middle-Eastern, and African, it also leads to more restrictive employee background checks and the militarization of border enforcement.

  • Student At Harvard Defends Affirmative Action

    by Shawn Wen

    I’m a current senior at Harvard. When I applied, I was open about being Asian-American and having immigrated to the States in the 4th grade from Vietnam. My SAT scores were below Harvard’s average. My acceptance into Harvard was most likely based on my personal statement, which reflected the diversity I brought to campus. As an Asian-American, I do not believe Harvard’s race conscious admissions policy hurt me. In fact, I requested a copy of the admissions notes on my application and submitted them as part of the federal court case in defense of Harvard’s practices.

    When I was eight, I enrolled in a  public school in Los Angeles. I vividly remember sitting in a classroom among strangers my age, tapping my foot on the wooden floor anxiously. I scanned the room and looked at unfamiliar symbols on the wall, forming words that I could neither interpret nor pronounce. When it was my turn to read out loud, I hesitated. I did not want my classmates to think I that I was too foreign to speak English properly.

    At first, my classmates made fun of my accent and my foreignness, which pushed me to immerse myself in American culture. I was determined to assimilate. I was convinced that this was how I could achieve success and a piece of the American Dream. I had not realized in my childhood that my assimilation came with a heavy cost–losing my Vietnamese identity. My parents tried to warn me, and they kept reminding me to practice reading and writing Vietnamese. But I was frustrated with them for not understanding that I needed to make sacrifices and they happened to be the Vietnamese language and my Vietnamese identity.

    In high school, I enrolled in a humanities magnet program to further improve my English. This meant that I missed out on many family and cultural activities, such as Tết, or Vietnamese New Year while my family celebrated, because I spent days before in-class essay exams memorizing specific sentence structures. My English skills were not at a point where I could write on the spot.

    Junior year, I began  I began to question my assumptions. Although I was originally enrolled in the magnet program to improve my English, the course work challenged me to reflect on my own identity and experiences. I learned about the model minority myth and the systematic oppression of immigrants and people of color. I came to understand that success, in America, traditionally was never meant for me or people who look like me. I saw that I had come to look down on other Vietnamese students at my school who seemed to not care about learning English or doing well in school. I had been wondering why they would only speak Vietnamese at school, and I thought, If I can work hard to learn English and be successful academically, why can’t they? Over time, I rejected these thoughts.

    When it came time to apply for college. I went against the advice I received from college guidebooks and friends, who told me not to write about the “immigrant experience” in my college essay, because the narrative was overdone. How could I not highlight an experience that contains not only so much trauma, but also so much growth and learning? My “immigrant experience” is not a token narrative, but rather a formative experience that shaped me into the person I am today. I simply was too tired of hiding who I was and buying into a notion of success that continues to leave out communities of color, including the Vietnamese community.

    In effort to help combat systems of oppression that I learned about in school, I’ve thrown my support behind affirmative action. As a policy, it allowed colleges to look beyond my below-average SAT score and take into account my experiences as a Vietnamese immigrant and many other identities that make me who I am. It’s made me confront my uncles’ and aunts’ lived experiences as refugees from the Vietnam War. I see how their need to make money and survive confined them to cleaning people’s hands and feet, and prevented them from helping my cousins with homework. I’ve recognized how lucky and privileged I was to have parents who cared about my education and teachers who believed in my potential.

    My stance on affirmative action is a gentle reminder to the rest of America, and especially Edward Blum, the man behind the Students for Fair Admissions lawsuit against Harvard, that I, along with so many other Asian-Americans, refuse to be tools that perpetuate white supremacy and that we stand in alliance with the black and brown community. It is also a reminder that I will never let my Vietnamese identity, let alone any other part of myself, be erased again.

  • Coming Out as a Queen: Introducing Poison Oakland

    by Emiliano

    On the surface, I was a shy boy. I played alone with my sisters’ dolls, and spent hours binge watching Clueless. But behind closed doors, I really let my girliness shine.

    In the closet, I blasted Britney Spears and dolled myself up in my mom’s flowered hats and high heels and put on a show. While I dreamt of being a performer, I didn’t think boys could have these glittery fantasies, so I kept my passions hidden.

    When I was 15 years old, I discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race online, and it was like a firework went off in me. I saw these queens being confident, free, and living out their flowered-hat, high-heeled truths. They oozed confidence the way I wanted to.

    They told stories about being weird kids imitating pop stars just like me. I realized then I could take my dress-up games and turn them into art.

    Since I started doing drag this summer, I can now rock a skirt suit like Cher and dance my heart out like Britney. Because of them, I could finally let my inner queen out. Her name is Poison Oakland, and she’s still me, but fiercer.