Yesterday, thousands of American teen-agers marched on Washington to protest gun violence in their schools. This was more than inspiring—it was a bracing reminder to the rest of us that the course of events is in our hands, and that apathy is a choice. This week, we’re bringing you portraits of young people who are determined to shift the status quo. Reporting from Parkland, Florida, Emily Witt meets the students who are starting the Never Again movement. Michelle Nijhuis introduces us to the California teen-agers who are suing the government over climate change. Alex Carp attends Occupy Summer School; Betsy Morais meets Zoe Markowitz, the youngest-ever member of the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8; and Laura Parker drops in on the campaign of Tahseen Chowdhury, a high-school student running, as a progressive candidate, for the New York State Senate. Finally, in a piece from 1965, Renata Adler offers an overview of the Vietnam-era’s student protest movements—for free speech, for civil rights, and for peace. Then, as now, young people were pushing society forward.
“The Never Again Movement Begins,” by Emily Witt
“Only four days after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the activist movement that emerged in its aftermath had a name, a policy goal, and a plan for a nationwide protest.” Read more.
“Teens Sue Over Climate Change,” by Michelle Nijhuis
“Young plaintiffs represented by Julia Olson and her colleagues have pursued legal actions against government agencies in all fifty states, and twenty-one young people, aged nine to twenty, are part of a new suit against the federal government.” Read more.
“The Price of Peace Is Confusion,” by Renata Adler
“The student demonstrators had divided into several major factions, and the student peace movement faced a crisis that had very little to do with its attitudes toward the war in Vietnam.” Read more.
“Protest U,” by Alex Carp
“A lot of people want change, but they don’t really want to do much about it,” Nande Trant, fifteen, said. “So it’s kind of, I did my part—they’ve got to do theirs.” Read more.
“ Underage,” by Betsy Morais
“Zoe Markowitz is sixteen and in the eleventh grade at Eleanor Roosevelt High, on East Seventy-sixth Street. She’s also serving as the youngest member ever on Community Board 8.” Read more.
“Teen-Ager Tries to Unseat New York State Senator, When He Isn’t Smashing Laptops,” by Laura Parker
““It’s not that difficult,” Tahseen Chowdhury said, referring to his grassroots political campaign. “All you need are competent people.” His team consists of about twenty advisers, most of whom have curfews.” Read more.