Today, we at Youth Rise Texas are celebrating the birthday of a very special woman, who herself was a leader in youth-led struggles for justice and human rights. On this day in 1913, Rosa Parks entered our world, a woman whose defiance against injustice on an Alabama bus sparked awe & admiration across the world.
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While Rosa Parks has been incorrectly portrayed as just a tired seamstress who had enough, in fact she was an accomplished organizer: she created the NAACP Youth Council in Montgomery, mobilizing with teens to demand integration. She traveled to activist leadership-development conferences with Ella Baker and attended the Highlander School to refine her organizing skills.
Youth Rise Texas’ work follows the path laid out by women like Rosa Parks and Ella Baker, echoing their leadership and dedication by committing to developing youth as self-empowered advocates with the skill and dedication to remake the world in their vision. To honor the work of Rosa Parks and our foremothers, today we’re featuring this piece on Black History & Black Futures, by Youth Riser Destiny Harris.
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To hear more from Destiny, and others in Youth Rise, check out our 2015 Achievements Video below her writing, and be sure to join us on February 13 for “Love Letters,” a youth-led activist performance envisioning a world where love prospers beyond bars & borders. Tickets are available here.
And now, we leave you with Destiny…
I wake up each day with a broken heart, wanting more for my family and friends and the rest of my black race. I can guaranteed that most of the black race has one thought in mind: “I hope I don’t die today because of the color of my skin.”
I see my mom struggle, I struggle and I am only 17. We get treated differently, we get talked about, we get pushed down by words and systems. What about the things we need? Without education you cannot work, and with out money you cannot eat. We need money, education and food, but too many of us get the leftover bits and pieces.
At my school, I see the white and black kids separated by upstairs (LASA, a “selective public magnet school”), and downs stairs (LBJ Early College High). Guess who got up stairs? LASA has better bathrooms, bigger classrooms, and more college-bound grads. I work two jobs to put food on my table. I am a senior and the white kid next to me has a better chance at graduating college then the next black kid behind me. If under-resourced schools were given more money, then that means a better chance at a better future, not only for African Americans.
The freedom fighters and silent protestors fought for education, they fought for schools to be desegregated. Black history month is important, but we all need to work to make our government take action to create a better Black future.
-Destiny Harris, Youth Rise teen organizer, LBJ High Class of 2016