Youth Equality: A Utopian Story

‎”Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance.” – Eduardo Galeano

That year my daughter entered middle school was the end of the revolutionary phase. For years we’d struggled and taught, advocated and rallied. There had been advances and setbacks, until one day the levees broke. Suddenly, children and youth flooded the streets of our society’s consciousness. Almost without warning, they were everywhere throughout the city, including the government buildings downtown, the businesses in the strip malls, and the culture at night.

It was like they knew no limits aside from those we’d carefully negotiated; culture, identity, spirituality, and perception seemed like shared events while they were dancing in troupes, painting incredible murals, and reciting poems in every corner.

We had no idea how broad and how deep the revolution would affect our society.

Within just a few weeks there were billboards for youth candidates posted along the interstates, and within a few months citizen-driven green initiatives were transforming those interstates into multi-use travel corridors for bicycles, high-speed rail, and alternative vehicles like Segways. Technology became ubiquitous after young people did, with fully integrated usages throughout schools, homes, and public spaces; McDonald’s and shopping malls rapidly emptied out as the wisdom of young people emerged in a collective tour de force against consumerism and for community-building. Almost immediately young minds and hands were freed to resolve the centuries-old crises of poverty and racism, and with their elasticity apparent, “poor” neighborhoods were transformed into bastions of hope as the young people who lived in them were immediately engaged, employed, and empowered to take charge.

Replacing hatred with hope, people of all ages lined up to serve through AmeriCorps, and lines formed outside every Big Brothers/Big Sisters agency in the country. Every institution that served kids was suddenly flooded with donations and volunteers, all because the immediately reality of young people became fully apparent to every single person in the country.

For my daughter, well, none of this passed by her unnoticed. Her blog quickly announced every development, and her web series openly critiqued, celebrated, and challenged all the developments she’d helped bring about. As she wrote, “My determination and hope were only a drop of water in the sea of this new reality. I only want what is best for everyone, including myself.”

Utopia realized, I began to imagine a new reality further beyond this one.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

One thought on “Youth Equality: A Utopian Story

  1. What is this utopia our society so desires; so dreams of? I feel as if our opinion of what our picture perfect society is continually changes with the new life that is brought into the world. Each birth our world has creates a different approach to a utopian world. We are an ever- changing society, one in which aspires to advance. Our children are who have the chance for older generations to have a utopian world. We rely on the children. If our children, that is all of them, are not given a “utopian chance”, then how will they make a utopian world? By “utopian chance” I mean societal opportunity at equality, creating the same opportunity any other child could and should have. Children in public schools are already given a lesser chance if they are minorities. Some give up and are swallowed by the negativities and put-me-downs that our society has created. Others however, rise to the challenge and make their society just a little better… however those are few and far between. We provide such praise for the minorities who make it, don’t we? We pay attention to them, which isn’t all wrong. Though, thinking about it- shouldn’t we then begin to focus more on those swallowed up? The New York Times once posted an article entitled, “The Raging Fire”. This article discusses how important it is to fight and protect yourself against racial injustice. It talks about a report called “Call for Change”, in which it says that the black minority is in a state of crisis and is way behind than their schoolmates. The article also gave statistics such as how many blacks are imprisoned and how many are born to unwed mothers. The article provided a solution in that the black family needs to be “knit back together.” The black minority is not the only minority in a state of crises. Hispanics are also in a state of crises. I believe wholeheartedly that youth in itself is a minority in crises. They are disadvantaged because of the world they were born into and all they have is what those before them have provided. It is almost as if the only way to make a change towards positivity is for everyone to make a stand in a positive way. The right ammo wasn’t given for our society to have a utopian world. It sucks, but honestly, what the teenagers and early adults have deemed as some good stuff is alcohol, drugs and sex. Those are the things you see in music today, which our youth so strongly listens to and admires. The utopian world will forever be out of reach.

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