USE YOUR VOICE – for youth

cardboard sign handpainted with the words "HOLD SCHOOLS ACCOUNTABLE" in all caps, beside an 'A' in a loveheart

As young radicals, we often don’t know where to start. There’s lot’s of theory and that’s overwhelming. There’s clearly also lots of things to do and that can be overwhelming too.
I think the solution is to muster the courage to speak up about our experience of life under the system. I understand this can be scary and that it’s very easy to think that there’s nothing we could add to the conversation ourselves.

I also think, however, that our experiences are already enough.
Perhaps as young people we are so used to being ignored, rarely seen and almost never heard. So used to it that we’ve been tricked into thinking that our life in its everydayness isn’t political enough.
And yet, we all have so much to complain about? We’re some of the best complainers the system ever produced. I think we should take a healthy dose of pride here. That’s a pat on the back for every time you shouted out against the authoritarian rules of the school and the home. For anytime you were honest about how you were feeling. The isolation, the abuse, the anxieties, the absurdity of it all.

As young people living under the hellscape of the capitalist system, we’re all too used to being told that we have potential. We know what they mean- the potential to be a different kind of wage slave. Or if We have lots and lots of potential it means something else. The potential to be a boss, so that we can exploit some workers and get even more dosh.

All young people deserve to be heard. It’s really not a big ask. There’s many ways young people are in chains. All of our chains look different. Some of us grew up queer. Others were abused by psychiatry. Being young and black has an entire story of its own. The abuse of neurodivergent children also needs talking about. Many of us were made homeless before knowing how to hold down a place of our own. Many of you might fall into many of these camps or even all of them.
What’s true for all young people, is that we’re living under capitalism and adult supremacy.
Capitalism? An economy motivated by the hoarding of profit, instead of meeting the peoples needs.
Adult supremacy? The belief in the inherent superiority of adults and therefore their right to dominance.
From the self described Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet. Audre Lorde can teach us that:
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences,”

Telling you to use your voice as a 20 year old without giving you a platform to do just that would be hypocritical. Even if I think it’s bullshit that the government forced this status upon me, without prepping me for it atall. 

 Which is why the blackcurrent blog will be commited to publishing the pieces sent in by young people. There are many barriers to writing and it can be scary at first. if you reach out to us we will do our best to aid you. The blackcurrent centre in Northampton organises a social hub every Sunday. Otherwise, reach out to your local adult activists who share this vision. Alternatively if you’re young and believe you don’t have as many barriers to reading and writing, you can help in another way. You can help by reading this article to your friends and helping them write something. I’ll try not to make this a lecture of advice, but I’ll offer this.

 Try to distance yourself from the understanding of what a teacher is that was given to you through the school system. You may think grammar or vocabulary is important, but it should never be prioritised over the experience of the person in the struggle.

Living is learning, it’s silly to separate the two. We are all teachers and learners, because of this. Therefore, meaning-intended and voices-heard always rises above whether you used the fanciest of adjectives. Ask what someone needs and suggest what could be added rather than deciding it all for them.

Here’s to a future shared. Here’s to the potential of our collective voices and who knows where that could lead us.
Perhaps a physical newsletter (we have the funding. It’s on the table) 

For those that are still anxious by speaking out I offer you another quote by audre lorde.

“When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent we are still afraid to speak. So it is better to speak”

1 comment

  1. Even as someone twice your age, Kylie, I will freely and unashamedly acknowledge the value, the insight and the perspective I receive in hearing “young voices”. Reading words of young writers opens my eyes wider each day and I am so grateful for it. Wisdom is not age-inherited, it’s age-defyant. There is wisdom in youth, and thank goodness for that.

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