Youth gathered last night for a forum at WHYY said they are pushing to get involved in civic life early because they are worried what the country will look like if they wait for it to be passed to their generation. About 100 young people from across Philadelphia attended the forum co-hosted by WURD-AM.
Tisharah Morton described how important it is for young people to be involved in civic life. “It’s like the adults make the decisions for us without really knowing what we want,” she said. “The youth are going to be the people that run the country. We don’t want to pick up the scraps of America, we want it to be whole when we get it.”
Panelists from WURD’s youth talk radio program covered topics from the presidential race to Black Lives Matter. They went by their first names. Morgan, who goes to Masterman, discussed the “school to prison pipeline.”
“How many of you know someone who is currently incarcerated or has been incarcerated in the past?” she asked. “Almost every hand went up.” She continued, “If I grew up in North Philly, I’m five times more likely to go to jail than someone who grew up in the suburbs.”
Tamir, a student at Science Leadership Academy, wants to see more minorities working as teachers. In the U.S., two percent of teachers in the country are African American males. “Two percent?” he asked. “It’s not enough.”
While the problems brought up by the meeting were diverse, Tamir says the solutions are rooted in education.
“The ones that are in the classroom K-12 those people are teaching the next doctors, the next lawyers, the next educators,” he said. “So how will you be the change that we are looking for?”