Over the past weeks, our nation has watched as brave students have stood up and spoken out. They’ve proven what I had already known: that young people are thoughtful and committed citizens who will not be silenced or pushed aside. We have witnessed the power of students and know that this is more than a moment in the spotlight. It is part of a larger movement of young people calling for systematic change in American schools. We want to democratize schools. We must seize this opportunity to show the value and capability of students by amplifying their voices as a way to engage decision makers to create changes that benefit students.
I have spent the last few years learning from other students. I began this work in my junior year of high school after I noticed the inequity within the school systems in my home state of South Carolina. I started working with school, district and state leaders to bring student voices to the table. During the 2016-17 academic year, I took a gap year to meet students across the United States and watched as students fought to be heard. I facilitated roundtable discussions in which students expressed their greatest fears and shared their wildest hopes. Through these interactions, I found that in school, where students are expected to understand civic engagement, they are rarely given opportunities to practice it.
This week we saw over one million students walk out of their schools to demand accountability and representation from legislators. Beyond this, students are organizing marches, facilitating dialogues and accelerating school and governmental policy. However, we cannot and will not stop here: now is the time to be bold and to take action on critical issues. I am challenging students, teachers, allies, and partners to continue to stand up, speak out and challenge your peers to stand beside you. Change is coming.
In 2018, Student Voice is committed to involving 10 million students online and in-person in the movement, by focusing on the following programs:
As the new executive director of Student Voice, I’m committed to learning from students and their organizations across the United States. I want to speak directly with students leading work in their communities. Over the coming weeks, I will be personally reaching out to student organizations from coast-to-coast. In the meantime, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, (803) 446-6642, or across social media @merritjones.
The movement is certainly live,
Executive Director, Student Voice
Student Voice is a completely student-run, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization inspired by the premise that all students should have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Student Voice strengthens the student movement by empowering students to take action on issues that most impact their education. Our mission is realized by amplifying, aggregating and accelerating student voices. For more information about Student Voice, visit StuVoice.org, follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on Twitter and Instagram and like our page on Facebook.
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