"This is not
class warfare, this is generational warfare. This administration
and old wealthy people have declared war on young people. That
is the real war that is going on here. And that is the war we've
got to talk about." –
The following resources can assist young people
and adult allies in learning more about the War on Youth and what they
can do to challenge the ongoing violence.
children are poor during the first 3 years of life,
with over 13.3 million children living in poverty right
million children lack health insurance
states, more money is spent on prison construction than on
ranks #1 in military technology, military exports, defense
expenditures, and the number of millionaires and
billionaires. It is 18th in the gap between rich
and poor children, 12th in the percent of children
in poverty, 17th in efforts to lift children out of
poverty, and 23rd in infant mortality. (National
Center for Children in Poverty, )
there were 2,316 reports of children under 16 missing
in the New York City foster care system. (Youth
million children are homeless in the U.S. in any given
year. Children make up 40% of the nation’s homeless
population. (Institute for Health Policy Studies, 1995).
all United States cities of more than 100,000 population have curfew laws. (ASFAR)
200 largest cities in the U.S., the percentage having curfews
surged from less than half in 1990 to almost three-quarters by
1995. (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
Quotes to Consider
Xenophobia - The extreme fear of
Why does America fear and
suppress its young like no other modern (or even
semi-modern) society? Perhaps because other affluent
nations are monocultures. Minority races comprise tiny
fractions of the populations of Japan (1%), Germany and
Sweden (2%), Holland and France (3%), and United Kingdom
(4%). Homogenous Europeans invest in the young because the
kids look like the parents.
In contrast, the U.S.
(31% minority) is racially diverse, especially among
younger ages. In California, 60% of those over age 40 are
white; 60% under age 25 are black, Hispanic, or Asian. We
fear young people because, increasingly, they don’t
look like the parents.
from an article by Mike Males
...Youth today “are the most
dangerous criminals on the face of the earth.” – Congressman
William McCollum of Florida (1997)
Shortly after the school
shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Newsweek described youth as having a dark side and claimed
that youth culture in general represents “’Lord of the Flies’ on
a vast scale.”
Time magazine ran a cover story in
August 2001 claiming that “Kids Have Too Much Power.” This
cover projected the power of adult society onto youth,
effectively releasing adults from any responsibility for how
they use their own power.
According to the
Children’s Defense Fund,
Today magazine, and many other sources, the last federal
budget devastated funding for young people. Afterschool
programs, healthcare programs, underage drinking prevention
programs, and safe school initiatives were all on the chopping
block. Juvenile justice and youth employment programs were also
cut. School funding rose in several areas, including school
lunches and abstinence-only education.
In schools across the U.S.
students are subject to search and seizure violations,
unwarranted drug scanning, racism, censorship, school uniforms,
restrictions on free speech, zero tolerance policies, corporal
punishment, and other violations.
We can do something
to change things, and many people already are. Young
people and their adult allies are fighting together through
partnerships and in community to build a healthier, more
educated America, and you can join them. Unlike several
recent wars in American history, we can't just declare the War
on Young People over. The enemy will never just "go away."
We must remain constantly
vigilant to truth, social justice, and democracy. But for
now, we must get to work.
Websites & Organizations
Colorlines - No War on Youth
This page features
resources for raising awareness and fighting the war on youth in
California, ushered in by Proposition 21.
Bush's War on Children
An early review of
Mr. Bush's policies that have negative impacts on young people,
including health, education, social services, and more.
The War on Youth
A short article
detailing the different aspects of the War on Youth, including
information from across the nation in a summary of the unjust
charges against young people, especially from communities of
A War on Young People
This feature is
from the Poor Magazine Online. This 2002 article chronicles the
criminalization and mass incarceration of youth of color in
concise, practical, and academic method, Males offers
hard-hitting, fact-filled books and articles that break down
Adultistic, anti-youth media stereotypes, and inspire young
people to fight the systematic and societal prejudice that
prevents them from participating throughout society.
Fighting the War
on Youth through direct organizing and community activism, the
Youth Organizing Committees have a wide reach and have been
successful in altering the views and actions against young
people throughout society.
resources, visit the Freechild Project's resource pages on: