The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that every child has the right to be heard in decisions that affect them. All UN member states except for the United States have ratified the Convention. Much of the convention was drafted by the Reagan administration; three of the articles coming directly from the American Constitution. Yet since U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright signed the convention in 1995, no President has got round to submitting the document to Senate for ratification. This is a shocking indictment of American politics.
So, it is heartening that young leaders in the USA are clamouring to be heard. The incoming Biden administration would do well to consider this proposal and with what is, in effect, a majority in Senate, would do well to finally ratify the UNCRC. At the very least, it is a fantastic blueprint for designing a country with young people front and center.
I am not a young person; not by any stretch, and yet seeing young people demanding to be heard, be it through protest marches or by becoming active in the politics of their city, state or country, fills me with optimism. In Scotland we are seeing the same youth activism in our fight for independence. It has, over the last few years, become a movement driven, very much, by youth and by young people. And us oldies? Well, it happens to coincide with what we want too, if only we would take the time to listen.