Adults have long ignored, dismissed or misinterpreted youth activists. President Trump’s tweets blasting teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg for her “anger management problem” is one very public example.
Today youth activists might be reduced to cliches like “apathetic millennials” — and the work they do to virtual hashtags with no real-world impact. But history offers a contradictory truth: young people have changed our democracy since its founding. That is the premise behind a new book from Wesley C. Hogan, director of Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies.
In “On the Freedom Side: How Five Decades of Youth Activists Have Remixed American History,” (The University of North Carolina Press/2019) Hogan begins with the impact of Ella Baker and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on the civil rights movement and continues on to spotlight the work youth-led movements are accomplishing today.
D’Atra “Dee Dee” Jackson is one of the youth activists on the front lines of change. She is a Durham-based social activist and national director of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100). BYP100 has brought about change at the local and national levels, including reparations for victims of police violence in Chicago and participatory budgeting for citizens in Durham.
Host Frank Stasio speaks with Dee Dee Jackson and Wesley Hogan about the historical impact of youth-led movements and how radical and innovative organizing is effecting change today. Hogan and Jackson will speak together tonight at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham at 7 p.m.