I Believe in Youth

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I Believe in Youth

I am a firm believer in the power of youth. Since I facilitated my first youth workshop in 1997, I have been an advocate for youth empowerment, routinely showing young people, youth workers, educators, administrators, politicians and parents the power, purpose and possibilities of youth.

Young people bring some particularly important powers to the table. They include:

  • Purpose—Because of their abilities developed in their lives, youth have a sense of purpose in their learning and living. Through youth empowerment activities, we can help them focus and purposeful learners by partnering with adults. When youth go a step further and take action to change the world, they become even more purposeful! Building their knowledge, skills and abilities and applying them through social change encourages youth to stay driven and inspired to lead throughout society.
  • Passion—Youth might not come into a life with the skills or abilities they need to be leaders, and sometimes they don’t have the interest, either. However, after becoming empowered and applying their learning through action, youth develop passion and motivation and the drive needed to be leaders. This passion can take them far in school, at home and throughout their lives!
  • Possibilities—The possibilities of youth are limitless. Whether they’re doing personal work, advancing to powerful action, or taking it to the next level, there are many ways that youth can improve our world. Some youth become powerful advocates for social change who lobby legislatures, present at conferences and represent youth voice. Others become highly proficient in changing the world, and still others teach their peers with voraciousness and vigor. There are so many possibilities!
  • Practicality—The practical, actual difference youth make everyday create powerful change in their own lives, throughout their communities, and around the world. Young people who work to change the world can take powerful career steps because of the fires that were sparked when they were youth. The practical effects of young people taking action include saving money, increasing the efficiency of youth programs and schools, and improving the climate and outcomes of communities. Such practicality can make youth essential for social change around the world.

These are just a few of the reasons why I believe in youth! There are so many others that matter too, like creativity, digital powers, and more.

Why do YOU believe in youth?!?

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Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.

Solidarity with Black People

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Solidarity with Black People

For hundreds of years, white supremacy has stood on the necks of people of color, particularly Black people, in a system designed to uphold the power of people like me. We are white people, and we’re responsible for the systematic oppression of all Black people, including the economic, cultural, educational, judicial, and other systems throughout our society.

I am not exceptional to causing injustices towards people of color. It does not matter where I’ve lived, how I’ve lived, who I have lived with, or what I’ve done in my career or personally with Black people. Just like all white people, I have benefited directly and indirectly from the white privilege bestowed on me by racist systems of oppression that I have consciously and unconsciously upheld.

Right now, I stand in honor of the Black people who I have known throughout my life. I stand in gratitude of the Black people who have taught me, trained me, led me, supported me, lifted me, and transformed me over and over. I also sit quietly, study actively, learn deliberately, and hear conscientiously in hope of learning, growing, and living in a more purposeful, more just, and more powerful world for Black people specifically.

Towards that end, I stand in solidarity with Black people. I stand in solidarity with all those engaged in protest against the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others. I stand in solidarity against the systems, individuals, and actions designed intentionally or unintentionally to kill, hurt, threaten, demean, belittle, or otherwise oppress Black people.

These murders, this harm, and these injustices are not new. Violence, colonialism and white supremacy are woven into the foundation of the United States. For centuries, white people have been killing and looting African Americans, Native Americans and other people of color while most of us stand silent, and because of our silence, we are complicit. 

However, this time right now is different, with a global pandemic and financial crisis that are devastating African Americans, Native Americans and other people of color at massively disproportionate rates. This moment is pivotal and how we act right now will have profound implications for tomorrow and the future.   

I recognize the call to fully engage in both self-work and organizational work. When I consider the education system and communities I have the privilege to work with, I am reminded of just how much there is to do. I commit my self, my resources, my energy, and my actions to commit to fight for liberation for myself and others; our communities; and the young people I am so deeply invested in.

I will offer antiracist resources on my social media and website for expanded learning programs, educators, youth workers, and all of us as individuals. I welcome you to share additional resources with me as well. I will offer antiracist trainings and speeches for white people and actively engaged with the organizations I support to end racism. I will put myself on the line.

For the African American, Native American and people of color who are my colleagues, friends, and family, I stand up with you and for you. I will not be silent. I will walk alongside my allies as we hold each other accountable to the part we all play in these injustices and the ways in which we can and must push against our own discomfort and privilege. I will not let this moment pass without reflection, listening, and action. 

Thank you to every person my professional networks who has dedicated their career, heart, and soul to African American youth and other youth of color. It is for them — and white youth, and white communities, and ourselves — that we must act. 

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Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.

Becoming Aware of Youth Culture

Culture is anything and everything that makes up the parts of a person’s entire way of living.

Culture is organized into groups, including a person’s geographic location, political identification, sexual orientation, familial makeup, friends, religion, jobs, and AGE. Age is a cultural group because of the traits shared among different age groups throughout society.

Ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are all rooted in these cultural realities. Adultism is too.

Adultism is bias towards adults.

In order to successfully, meaningfully and wholly engage children and youth anywhere, anytime for any reason, adults have to confront our bias towards adults, and the consequence of that: discrimination against young people.

The question of becoming aware of the culture of young people is at the very core of my work for a lot of reasons.

For all that we continue expanding Euro-awareness of the value of indigenous culture; for the cultural expansion towards equitable roles between women and men; for the upsurging awareness of the equal rights of GBLTQQ folks; we’re missing a key element in these conversations, and that’s the cultural shoehorn known as children and youth.

Young people have a distinct and unique culture for many reasons, not the least of which being the routine and systematic segregation of them from society by adults. The culture of young people is almost wholly and constantly neglected, denied and dismissed by adults. They are actually and actively repressed, consequently fostering adultism and the adultcentric nature of schools and homes and businesses and government and, and, and…

That’s why cultural awareness is at the middle of what I do. From my perception, we’re talking about human rights, and the distinct right young people should have to be themselves.

We can and must do better.