“The young, free to act on their own initiative, can lead their elders in the direction of the unknown… The children, the young, must ask the questions that we would never think to ask, but enough trust must be re-established so that the elders will be permitted to work with them on the answers.”
– Margaret Mead, Continuities in Cultural Evolution
In 1964, at the age of 35 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Thousands of students of color participated in a school walkout in New York City over defacto segregation. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement was started after a huge protest after a police officer arrested a protester.
That same year Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist who was famous in the U.S. for her book called Coming of Age in Samoa, wrote quote above. Mead is popular today because of a more simple quote attributed to her: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
I think “The young, free to act…” quote above is one of the most powerful summaries about youth-adult partnerships and intergenerational equity I have found. Enjoy.