Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 was the year of the young person

The voice of young people has been massively important in 2014 and as the year draws to a close it is important to reflect on the issues that have shaped this year and the role that young people have played in them.

Scottish referendum 
The Scottish referendum was a monumental issue and not only because of the decision that Scotland had to make but also because 16 year olds were permitted to vote in the referendum. Many feared that this would reduce voter turnout and that teenagers would be disinterested in the cause. However, this was not the case as many young people appeared on the news speaking passionately about their views. Discussions even took place where thousands of teenagers gathered to quiz politicians. The voter turnout was most certainly not reduced by allowing teenagers to vote and it was in fact incredibly high at 84.59%. This referendum was a great platform for young people to showcase their intelligence and interest in the political world and prove that teenagers are not lazy and disinterested.

Ferguson
After 18 year old Mike Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson in an unjust and racist situation thousands of people took to the streets to protest the fact that Darren Wilson did not face an indictment, many of these protesters were teenagers or young people. On social media hoards of young people were quick to recognize the racist nature of this case and the derogatory way that the media was presenting black youths. On a social networking site called tumblr many posts were made about the protests in Ferguson and raised awareness about police brutality towards black people in America. Petitions were passed around and money was raised for food drives so the protesters so that they could continue with their efforts. A young black man called Rasheen Lamont Aldridge became the youngest member of Ferguson's commission and he spoke out about the injustices of Ferguson. He is one of many examples of brilliant young people who are taking a stand against social injustices.

Student Protests
Students have been fighting for their future this year as they protested the high cost of tuition fees in the UK. Young people in the UK already face high numbers of youth unemployment and are now also facing around £50,000 worth of debt after leaving education. The youth have shown their anger at the situation by protesting on the streets of London in order to try and convince politicians to reduce the fees. In Hong Kong thousands of of young protesters also took to the streets and fought for their future against the repressive Chinese regime.

Transgender rights 
The most recent case of young people taking a stand for something they believe in is the case of Leelah Alcorn. Leelah was a 17 year old transgender girl who committed suicide after her parents refused to allow her to transition and would not recognize her chosen gender. Leelah left a suicide note detailing the reasons for her death and wished that society would treat transgender people in the right way. Young people all over social media mourned her death and raised awareness for transgender issues. A blog on tumblr was set up by a young person in Leelah's memory which is giving away clothes, binders, make up and accessories to transgender women who don't have access to or can't afford these items. The amount of action that has been taken to help the transgender community is very impressive and shows the compassion and ability of young people

Here is to 2014 being the Year of the Young Person

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4 comments

  1. Hello. My name is Jason, and off the bat I want to talk to you about the Ferguson case. It seems to me that whenever anyone black is threatened or shot or attacked by a white person, that the news and everyone calls it racism. But it's not racism when the same happens with black-on-black, white-on-white, or even black-on-white violence where the black person is the one who is the aggressor. It seems to me that if the same thing had happened, except Mike Brown had been white, that the news story would have covered it completely differently. The thing is, we will never truly know what really happened, because people see what they WANT to see. They might think they are seeing a racist situation, when they are really seeing a police officer acting in self-defense. You have to remember that just because it was a white police officer and a black person, doesn't mean its racism.

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  2. Hi Jason. Thanks for your comment :) The reason that i called it a racist situation was because of the circumstances surrounding the murder. Darren Wilson appeared on TV and referred to Mike Brown as a, 'demon' and made it clear that he felt no remorse and he even said that he would do it again. The fact that he was so emotionless about the murder and that he demonised Mike Brown showed that there was something wrong with the whole situation. Anonymous found Darren Wilson to have links with the KKK and members of the KKK even donated to Darren Wilson after the murder. When a publicly racist organisation supports somebody who has murdered a black person the racial incentive is clear. Also that fact that Darren Wilson did not even face an indictment after one of the witnesses credibility was brought into question is very dodgy. A black man is murdered every 28 hours by the police and that is an unacceptable statistic. It is evident that the Mike Brown case was a racially motivated murder and Darren Wilson has been allowed to get away with it which further proves my point.

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