January 25, 2020

Core Values

Filed under: NYRA Happenings,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 7:35 pm

Suddenly, lowering the voting age to 16 is a mainstream issue.

It got a lot of support in Congress, if not enough. The issue is being asked of presidential candidates. More and more places are proposing the change. Nancy Pelosi is even claiming she’d always supported it, even though not really but hey still glad to have her on board now.


This issue is one of NYRA’s “holy trinity”, along with drinking age and curfews. When someone would come up to our table at some event all like “the National Youth Rights Association? what’s that?” we’d reply that we’re about those three things and that we look at all the ways youth are discriminated against. They might react with a non-committal shrug and be on their way.

But now it’s 2020, and the 16 voting age has come shockingly close to becoming a thing nationwide. It’s not just coming from us and a few allies anymore. Somehow, some way, it caught at last and everyone is talking about it and seriously considering it.

So let’s say it happens. Hell, let’s say voting and drinking ages get dropped to 12 and curfew laws are all repealed. What would NYRA be anymore? Would there be any reason for such an organization to exist?

The answer is, yes, of course. In fact, I’d say NYRA is needed more than ever now.

January 9, 2018

And Greenbelt Makes Three

Filed under: Check It Out,In the News,NYRA Happenings,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:15 pm

Usually when there’s a map of my region with triangles on it, it’s the Pepco Outage Map.

But here’s an awesome triangle for the region.

At one point farthest to the west, we have Takoma Park, the first of them, which did it May 13, 2013. The southernmost point is Hyattsville, the second, which did it January 20, 2015. And to the northeast, the third point, which did it January 8, 2018, is Greenbelt.

These three towns at these three points have all have lowered their municipal voting ages to 16! A move with lots of good reasons and lots to think about and lots of tweets back in the day.

I was there when Takoma Park and Hyattsville each sealed the deal. Sadly, I was unable to attend Greenbelt’s due to freezing rain encasing everything in ice. But at least the people who mattered were there.

The three towns are all right by each other, too. The idea is spreading throughout the region. College Park is inside the triangle, almost totally surrounded and must surely join in at some point! The geographical proximity commands it. You, too, Berwyn Heights, especially if College Park does get in on this. And you, New Carrollton, just outside the triangle to the southeast. Why should the Green Line terminus in Greenbelt have all the fun of being in a #16tovote town when you and your Orange Line terminus could as well? Also, perhaps you’d then provide a little encouragement to a certain town just a bit south of you, just off the above map…

Yes, I’m talking about you, Glenarden! Get it together!

December 31, 2017

Well, That Happened 2017

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:22 pm

*inhale* Here goes…

January: This Is Not Who We Are

-I wonder if this is a good idea after all.
-Cash only!
-Hidden Figures
-It happened. That thing is… sworn in.
-So tonight… the un-ball!
-Me: “And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!”
-Women’s March!
-Wow, two hours just to get on the Metro.

February: Overtime

-Falcons are kicking ass. Another year without a Superbowl going into overtime.
-Okay, the Falcons fell apart and the game is tied at the end of regulation.
-These people are driving me nuts.

March: Ten Hours Apart

-Finally, a weekend cold enough to go skiing.
-What do you mean you closed early for the season because it’s been too damn warm?!
-Well, I’ll just have to go to one further north.
-I still have a mouse in my house.
-I have a bad feeling about this event…
-Worse than I thought.
-And I just yelled at someone about it. Well, don’t put on an ageist event!
-Maybe I was harsh. Was I harsh?
-Hey, two NYRA babies born the same weekend!
-Got rid of the mouse, I think.
-So am I going to do this or what? And how?

April: Third Time’s the Charm

-Something about the zoo, old chemistry equipment, and a Canadian.
-March for Science in the rain.
-We are the cosmos made conscious.
-We are the means by which the universe understands itself.
-Act like it!

May: West Side

-What a nice birthday!
-Okay, I think we need a new water heater.
-Oh, that’s over now.
-Awww, Chris Cornell.
Politics is getting violent!
-Something about fish, more fish, and a Canadian.

June: Radiculopathy

-I’m formulating a plan.
-Oh, look who came back east.
-AwesomeCon! Something about a keyblade, a life-size dragon, and a Canadian.
-I have a pinched nerve. Now for weeks of slowly subsiding arm and neck torture.
-Pier Six concert

July: Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze

-Chili and ‘splosions. After seeing ‘splosions from above last year.
-Something about an art museum and a Canadian.
-I think I somehow got lost hiking on Theodore Roosevelt Island. LOL
-A long coming event comes rather unceremoniously.

August: 80 Percent

-Ah, white supremacist assholes in Charlottesville. Lovely.
-Eating bacon s’mores and weird Colombian hot dogs and Krispy Kreme burger at the Montgomery County AgFair. The fair fare, if you will… I’ll just show myself out.
-One of those times you get bad news that actually wasn’t all that surprising and it has the side effect of increased confidence in your intuition.
-And now I’ve got a cold for the first time in almost four years.
-I think it’s time for Kingdom Hearts again.
Pizza pile!

September: Tabouleh

-New season of BoJack Horseman!
-Welp, now I’m traumatized.
-Middle Eastern Bazaar.
-I’m dabkeh dancing and eating tabouleh and the same time because why not?
-The words we’ve feared every day are said.
-Lots of bad hurricanes.

October: Rainout

-Nats game! I finally go on the last game of the regular season. They lost.
-Taste of Bethesda!
-Alright, finally calling them on their ageist bullshit, particularly what happened in March.
-Something about a rain delay, robots, and a Canadian.
-And… the Nats lost another NLDS Game 5 because of course they did.
-Dinner with three NYRAnians!
-Going to the auction with a keyblade.
-Finally booked the damn thing.

November: Kaleo and Po’okela

-Hey, Astros got their first World Series win.
-I think I overdid it on the hot chocolate.
-Time to go…
-Holy crap, I’m finally in Hawaii!
-Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor and some marine mammal friends!
-Black sand beach and Kilauea Iki and Chain of Craters and Mauna Kea!
-And back home.
-To Stone Soup.
-And Thanksgiving weekend to sleep off the trip.
-#27: Southern Cross

December: An Existential Question

-Again, not doing the entry a day thing anymore. Screw it.
-Meh, not sure I want to do Christmas alone again. I guess I’ll go to Las Vegas again.
-Winter Festival!
-Off to stop Glenarden, who lowered their voting age apparently without anyone knowing, from raising it again.
-Okay, Glenarden has issues and we want none of it. Let’s just go encourage Greenbelt to lower theirs as is planned.
-Why in the name of hell did I decide to go to Las Vegas on Christmas Day again?
-I got stuck in hourly parking at the airport because everything else was full. It’s going to cost me a fortune!
-And enduring those few days.
-And back home to the very cold.
-And here’s this recap.

While 2016 was a lot of “because fuck you, that’s why”, 2017 was the unraveling of the very fabric of space-time, with event after event, be it personally or the world at large, being of the “is this actually happening?” variety. Cool stuff like some stuff that went on around Easter as well as going to Hawaii. And politics continues to boggle us all and lose all of any sanity it may have had, what with, oh, every time Orange Thing says or does just about anything.

So, 2018, what’s next? With 2017 and all its surprises drawing to a close, what are we left with? How much further can anything spiral, any which way?

I suppose we’ll just have to strap ourselves in and find out.

December 31, 2013

Clusterfuck 2013

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:59 pm

*pant* *wheeze* *gasp*

Huh, what? Is 2013 just about over? Ah, it is. What a ride. Well, let’s get right into it with months named like episodes and a lot of cryptic notes.

January: Ball of Yarn

-These are some bizarre interview questions.
-Reading Deathly Hallows again.
-Les Mis with Kathleen, Alexander, and Pam!

February: Baskets

-LOL Superbowl power outage
-Hey, Ravens won the Superbowl! Even if being a Redskins fan means I should hate them apparently.

March: In the Garden of Brookside

-Got some NYRA stuff!
-Ugh. Alex’s house caught fire.
-Bill saw last year’s recap and accused me of libel. Inb4 same with this one.
-Hmm. Job paying a lot less than previous and still didn’t get it because not qualified enough. :irked:
-Laser tag!
-#26 Freewill

April: The Right Side of History

-Me, to Takoma Park: “Lower the voting age! All the cool places are doing it!”
-Holy crap, is this thing actually going to pass?!

May: Fifteen Percent

-Aww, crap, I turned 30.
-Hardy? You’re going to get over the lymphoma, right? Right?
-Oh. Only months left tops. πŸ™
-Oh no.
-RIP fellow NYRAnian, fellow board member
-And on that same day…
-In Takoma Park… “Councilmember Smith?” “Aye.” “Councilmember Seamens?” “Aye.” “Councilmember Schultz?” “Nay.” “Councilmember Male?” “Aye.” “Councilmember Grimes?” “Aye.” “Councilmember Daniels-Cohen?” “Aye.” “Mayor Williams?” “Aye.”
-And with that, the voting age was lowered to 16 in Takoma Park, MD.
-Just like that… #16tovote
-Oh. I got a job! Finally!
-I can do this. Must do a good job.
-So many minus-80 freezers!

June: Coffeemaker

-Hang on. One of the background music pieces in Lemmings is supposed to be Pachelbel’s Canon and I somehow never fucking knew this?! MIND BLOWN
-Whoa. What’s that thing hanging outside the walk-in freezer?
-Coworker: “If you stop moving, it starts chirping. If you still don’t move, it starts screaming. And they have to come drag your ass out.”
-Eep. Hope I don’t have to go in there!
-Hmm. We just got a week off because there isn’t anything to do. Oh, well.
-At least we were brought back.
-Finally telling off someone at NYRA who needed a good telling off. πŸ˜€
-Alright, I should probably be more specific, but if I did, he’d probably whine about libel again. :cute:

July: Stop! Hook up!

-Woo, Nationals game!
-Speeding?! You can get pulled over for speeding on I-270? Interesting.
-Okay, fine, I’ll run for the damn board again.
-Job just moved to me new location. Big but same basic job.
-Wow, those man-down devices for the walk-in freezers are loud!
-NYRAnians calling to confront ageist sushi restaurant in Virginia!
-I think I just scared WES. I called them out for ageism in a platform response. πŸ˜›
-What the mother of crap, did I just get pulled over again?
-What do you mean I was tail-gating?
-Huh? I need to go inside the walk-in freezer? Gulp…
-Okay, this isn’t so bad…
-And I’m in and out. Did what I needed to.

August: Blueberry Muffin

-First the Snipers in Baltimore and then some more NYRAnians in DC.
-It’s not Annual Meeting day, but it damn well feels like it!
-Time for Kathleen to go to San Francisco.
-Even if it requires driving her to the airport at 5am. Sigh.
-Hmm. MLK Library may have to do for the AM.
-We’ll connect NYRA-Twin Cities to the DC AM by video chat!
-Okay, this worked out.
-If this AM sucked balls. Oh, well.

September: Maybe

-I’ve been laid off again?!
-Oh, lovely, now a prolonged power outage after thunderstorm… This will be a while…
-Hmm. Just five hours. Could have been a lot worse. Okay.
-OMG I met Heather Corinna!!!
-NYRA board meetings on Google Hangout? This is pretty awesome!

October: Labyrinth

-Meetings to plan Winter Festival!
-I want to play Kingdom Hearts again.
-Dear God, forgot how awesome this game is.
-Oh, no, I’ve got a cold. On Halloween!

November: Spinach Bean Thing

-Time for Sugarloaf climb!
-Dad sold the house? Oh no.
-I’ll make that spinach bean thing for community dinner.
-I’ll make it again for Thanksgiving!

December: A Platypus and a Sloth Skiing in the Alps

-Ordered holiday cards late again.
-Taking little brother to Winter Festival!
-I’m a smug skiing platypus!
-Uh oh. We’re leaking water into neighbor’s house somehow.
-Fucking heating condensation pipe! :irked:
-Last Christmas in Grandma’s house. πŸ™
-Followed by a week straight of moving shit out.
-And then settlement.
-And the house is no longer ours. As of this afternoon.
-But we went out to dinner.
-And I’ve just barely made a post every day in December!

And the ball is dropping now, we close the book on the veritable clusterfuck that was 2013! Oy.

Well, let’s see what 2014 has up its sleeve… :scared:

August 31, 2013

Lucky Thirteen

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 10:59 pm

Once more, it’s been ten days times ten, and here we are in yet another…


Alright. So Round 13 is just about in the books. Let’s review.

Day 1, fourth day on job. Yay employment!

Day 9, “Screw work. Let’s build a fort!”

Day 19, worst sushi ever… but with Victoria!

Day 25, fun day of baseball, pizza, and video games with little brother!

May 14, 2013

About Last Night

Filed under: Here's To You!,NYRA Happenings,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 4:03 pm

And now for a youth rights historical edition of…

Here’s to You!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Takoma Park!”

I wondered when it would happen, when some American location would finally do it. NYRA and others have been campaigning for it for many years. Some campaigns came close or at least had promise, until they were stalled by technicalities or just plain fizzled out. For each one that did, another cropped up somewhere before long.

For a couple years now, it seemed the first would be Lowell, MA.

Until last night, when Takoma Park, MD, right in the county I live in, beat them to the punch!

First there was the hearing on April 8, attended by NYRAnians Alex Koroknay-Palicz, Bill Bystricky, Alexander Cohen, and me. All four of us went to the podium during the evening and spoke in favor of the proposal. Almost unheard of for youth rights proposals, most of the room was in favor! I was second to last to speak and urged Takoma Park to be on the right side of history, to be the first, to do what Austria, Brazil, Argentina, and other international locations have already done with success, what Berkeley, CA and New Haven, CT had already attempted, what Lowell, MA was currently attempting.

Then a week later on April 15 was the First Reading, when the city councilmembers themselves expressed their views of the proposal. All but one were in favor! Three even started off saying that at first they thought it was a stupid idea but after thinking about it some more, were now gung-ho for it! The one dissenting councilmember spouted a lot of typical “teens aren’t mature enough, I saw one once who wore saggy pants”. When he realized he was outnumbered he instead suggested the change come with a lot of other changes to include young citizens more. So proposal passed 6-1.

And then came the Second Reading, on May 13. The dissenting councilmember suggested the issue be put on the ballot rather than voted on by the council, and the mayor seconded. Uh oh. So the councilmembers each said their piece about this new proposal. It’s okay. It failed 2-5. And then back to the original proposal and some more councilmember remarks.

And the second and final vote to set it in officially.

Again… 6-1. Proposal passes.

That’s right. It’s official.

Takoma Park, MD has lowered the voting age to 16, the first in the United States.

This is real. I saw it happen. This is a thing that has actually happened. Just like that.

In Takoma Park’s city elections in November, there will be the first legal 16-year-old voters in the country!

And this is just the first, with many to follow. Lowell. And who knows where else? It’s not just a lot of failed campaigns and foreign examples. Here is a domestic success, an inspiration to all others in the country. The beginning of what will lead to larger cities lowering their voting ages, and counties, and then whole states. And the entire country.

May 13, 2013 – NEVER FORGET!

March 14, 2013

Sacked the Gunman

Now for a quick-thinking, death-stopping edition of…

Here’s to You!!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Cypress Lake hero!”

I don’t actually know his name. Very few people do. But he’s a high school student who, when another student on his school bus pointed a gun at someone else and threatened to kill, he and two others leapt up and tackled him, likely saving one or more lives. Yay! They’re heroes!

So they went to school where they got awards and medals not unlike the final scene from Star Wars…

Oh, no, wait, actually he got suspended. For being involved in an incident “where a weapon was present”.

Well, NYRA and others are on it! My always awesome fellow board member Jeffrey Nadel is on the case and has appeared on a couple of news spots and radio shows talking all about it.

Also, here: SchoolBusHero.com

Go there, watch the video, and sign the petition. And get others to do the same.

Seriously, that principal just isn’t backing down on this, insisting that she “knows the full story”. After the original suspension, they made up some junk about the heroic student being insubordinate and uncooperative, something they added after this story got media attention and they wanted to cover their tracks. Yeah, sure, okay. πŸ™„

Because the student should totally have instead done nothing like a good little boy and watched his fellow students get killed. And because he didn’t allow people to die in front of him, he now has this suspension blemish on his record because “only I know the full story, he was uncooperative! uncooperative!” Genius!

Come on. Expunge the suspension and move on. The school fighting this is nonsense, even by school administrator standards.

December 31, 2012

I Don’t Even 2012

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:36 pm

This year began with what felt like a theme park boat ride, the craft drifting into a dark tunnel, and up ahead you can hear the splashing of rough waters, as the drifting boat moves steadily quicker. To… what?

Well, to all this…

January: Sorting Socks

-Starting the year with something sweet. And Brookside.
-Rocky Horror Picture Show at WES: your argument has never been so invalid
-Ow! Why is my side hurting now?
-And why is… my chest pain back?! Noooo!
-Ash is dead! Ash lasted a while. Awww. πŸ™
-And now I don’t feel so good…
-Stomach virus! Ack! Haven’t had one in eleven years!
-Supervisor: “Stomach virus? WTF? Go home!”
-Me: “I have to change the temperature chart first!”
-A NYRA board meeting that didn’t devolve into fighting? Holy crap!

December 16, 2012

#16tovote on the 16th – Just a Step Among Many

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings,Teh Interwebs,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:02 pm

So today is sort of #16tovote on the 16th. I don’t run it anymore, though. Not from NYRA anyway since I no longer run that Twitter account due to some internal NYRA politics I don’t care to get into right now. But in sticking with tradition, I’ll say something else about it today.

There’s more to being a youth rights supporter than merely supporting a few goals. It’s a deeper conviction, a deeper consciousness. In the nearly three years since #16tovote on the 16th began, there have been a fair number of participants, though that’s considering participation can mean as little as retweeting one thing with a #16tovote hashtag on it.

A question might be… are all of these people youth rights supporters?


I think I can safely say that. Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of them are. Plenty more might be if they learned more about the issues and philosophy. But supporting lowering the voting age to 16, if there is in fact even that much support and they don’t merely find the idea non-seriously interesting, does not alone indicate support for youth rights.

The way to decipher that is why they support lowering the age. And I don’t just mean the age-old (LOL) battle of lower vs abolish. I mean, for example, if they want a lower age because they believe it might help more Democrats get elected. Or they see it as a feel-good measure. Or they see it as part of a youth involvement campaign. Not that the last one there isn’t pro-youth rights in its own way, of course, but some youth involvement or engagement types have a way of operating under the idea youth are supposed to serve the wider community moreso than others.

Or even if their reasons for a lower voting age are genuinely for the sake of youth having the same voting rights in their own city and country as anyone else, you might wonder how they feel about other youth rights issues. A couple participants in #16tovote on the 16th I’ve seen also supporting corporal punishment or some other token of “parental property”. Or perhaps they make derogatory remarks about teen moms. Or express disgust at a young person swearing. This says they only support youth a little bit, that they like the idea of them voting but probably see them as rightfully inferior in other ways, for whatever reason.

Then again, supporting youth rights goes well beyond a laundry list of goals and issues. The other thing to consider is the individual’s politics and worldview. Sometimes, when an otherwise youth rights supporter seems surprisingly unsupportive of a certain youth rights issue, it might be less a blindspot or lack of understanding, and more that they have certain other values that have led them to that particular conclusion. How this usually manifests, however, is not so much an outright disagreement with the pro-youth rights goal but often a separate option or goal entirely that keeps youth rights very much in mind. And there’s value to the movement in this, as it provides more insight into our own issues and opens up more possibilities for the change we want to see.

It’s also wise to remember not every issue is a clear and cut choice between “pro-youth rights” and “anti-youth rights”. Sometimes both or all sides are a little bit of both.

Why even make this distinction? Well, it’s merely a matter of knowing who does and doesn’t really understand what we’re about, or how close or likely they are. When it comes to support for lowering the voting age, though, surely all the support it gets is welcome, since it’s the same first step regardless of reason or further goal. But it’s only wise to keep the further direction and overall philosophy in mind and let it be known. Otherwise things can go in strange other directions.

August 31, 2012

By the Dozen

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:47 pm

Like every year so far this century, it began on May 24 and ends today on August 31, for today is…


With Round 12 coming to an end, let’s review!

Day 3, meeting Kathleen in Georgetown, finding place to park. Finding expensive parking meters. A nickel gets you a minute and a half. It says that. Make that finding world’s most sarcastic parking meters.

Day 9, Victoria has come to DC! We welcome her with dinner at Full Kee in Chinatown.

Day 10, to LGBT poetry slam with Kathleen at Busboys and Poets. Girl who won was quite awesome.

Day 13, uh oh, Kathleen needs to go to ER! Going to be a late night.

Day 17, charades! Well, more a game of Taboo we’re calling charades. Sort of both.

Day 21, first board meeting in almost five months. Passed a corporal punishment position paper at last. Then a whole lot of staff issues. And a repealed bylaw change that was foolishly done in closed session where no one could see it was being done. Ugh.

April 15, 2012

What It Means to Me

Filed under: NYRA Happenings,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 4:00 pm

Yesterday was the third annual National Youth Rights Day. A few days ago, I tasked some of my fellow NYRAnians with sharing, in whatever way, why they supported youth rights. Perhaps a little hypocritical on my part, as I not only didn’t share my own but wasn’t even sure how to answer my own question for myself!

But then I realized. Yes, I do!

Youth rights has been such a major part of my life over the past several years that it’s hard to even pinpoint any single sources of inspiration anymore. And even before I found NYRA, there were many little things here and there, the recognition that people thought little of me during my teen years and before, and, of course, my 8th grade English teacher saying “There’s no such thing as a typical teenager.”

But there is an underlying motivation, and it’s a simple one.

In short… I know this is right.

And I know it works.

I’ve met youth who were raised in whatever way in less oppressive conditions than average. In 2006, Alex and I were tabling at a conference and next to us was a table for Albany Free School, and with an adult or two from the school was a group of ten-year-old students from there. These kids? They were actually pretty mature and socially competent. They saw our NYRA table and were happy that we existed and related their frustrations at an Albany mall that had a youth curfew (Fuck you, Crossgates!) and they bought a bunch of our buttons. I don’t remember many more details than that about them, but I recall being pleasantly amazed at these ten-year-olds, the product of a non-oppressive school and probably non-oppressive families (if they had parents cool enough to send them to the non-oppressive school). It was nice to be reminded all the info flyers in front of me on my own NYRA table weren’t just spouting nice-sounding ideas that had little basis in reality, but were encouraging real changes to the way young people are thought of and treated, encouraging freedom and respect, and here were comfortable, competent, dignified kids at the table beside us, having grown up with that respect, as living proof of it.

Unschoolers, too! Whether it’s that teen rebellion isn’t necessarily a thing or just the continual accounts of unschooling families of the quality of life of unschooled youth as compared to traditional school students (yeah, I know there’s a “consider the source” factor here), the comparison between the unschooled youth who are generally more included and their choices respected as opposed to the voiceless traditional students who are coerced and dictated to at every turn.

December 31, 2011

Fearless 2011

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:07 pm

And… here we are! 2011 has run its course. Let’s review!

January: Unapologetically Fierce

-Nothing like a 7-year-old’s birthday party at a sports bar!
-Missed New Year’s Eve skiing but I’ll get up there some evening.
-Liberty’s restaurant says anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
-Uh oh! Big snowfall at afternoon rush hour on untreated roads!
-Three hours to go ten miles.
-Come on, car! Don’t get stuck. Doing great…
-Okay, now it’s stuck… just outside my house. Okay, COULD be a lot worse!
-Dinner invite! How nice!

February: A Reclaimed Minuet

-Superbowl Sunday! To Brookside. To climbing gym. To get fried chicken. To bake cookies. And, well, watch the game!
-Hey, lots of free sheet music for classical music online. Public domain!
-Uh oh! Lots of changes and of course fighting over NYRA’s website redesign.
-Yay! #16tovote on the 16th is a year old!
-Helping out in NYRA office on weirdly warm day. And burrito with Dave from weird burrito truck guy.
-WES Auction! I won a big urn!

December 16, 2011

#16tovote on the 16th – Typical

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings,Teh Interwebs,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 10:56 pm


12:00am, the 16th: Introductory “yay it’s #16tovote on the 16th!” tweet along with link to Top 10 Reasons to Lower the Voting Age

12:02am: tweets some basic voting age point to get things started

12:10am: trying to think of another voting age tweet, comes up with crap

12:15am: finally just tweets link to recent voting age news article, if one’s available

12:30am: facepalms at Max’s “#16tovote or I’ll chop off your dick and shove it down your throat” tweet

1:00am: manages to tweet some good stuff, perhaps a couple tweets and/or retweets from regulars

1:30am: can’t come up with anything else for night but stays up late with it for some reason

2:00am: finally tweets link to NYRA voting age page or something from the downloads section, to get people through night

2:30am: goes to bed, ready to get up and get to work nice and early to resume

December 15, 2011

You Thought Otherwise?

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 1:24 pm

I’ll never understand how there are corporal punishment supporters in NYRA. It’s something that shocked the hell out of me loooong ago when I was new on the forums and found there was anyone in the organization justifying the practice! I mean, in a youth rights context, it should be a no-brainer. One of the most basic aspects of supporting someone’s rights is supporting their right to not be assaulted for supposed “misbehavior”.

Got a reminder of it yesterday when an anti-corporal punishment article was posted to NYRA’s Facebook page. Seriously, click through that and check out all the comments.

Some people are all “WTF? I thought NYRA was only against corporal punishment in schools?!”


Do they really think our opposition to corporal punishment is about WHO is hitting the kids rather than, you know, the idea of them being hit at all? Or, in general, did they not catch that we’re a “youth rights” organization?

Hell, in 2009, when our opposition to school paddling was added to our Education position paper, someone at the annual meeting out and asked me “this is just for schools, right? so if I had kids, I could still smack them?” I gave him a dirty look that made him recoil a bit and answered plainly “just for schools” and my look that seemed to add “but go fuck yourself”. I mentioned this to Alex later, since that guy was a friend of his, but Alex insisted the guy was joking. Eh, maybe.

While the words “youth rights” can make people think all kinds of different things, many of which way off what we do, you’d think freedom from assault that’s called “discipline” would be obvious. I wonder if these same people join or follow an LGBT org and are surprised they are for same-sex marriage. I wonder if they join or follow an animal rights org and are surprised they are against fur.

December 13, 2011

NYRA Holiday Cards – Fun Facts!

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 8:35 pm

Today I’ve officially completed the sending of the 6th Annual NYRA Holiday Cards! Yay! Last year I sent 570 cards but this year it was back down to 480. No really reason except by the time I went to order more the price had been raised. Oh, well.

It’s teal with snowflakes and some pink gifts on either side of the Annual Meeting picture.

Like 2009, Alex was nowhere to be found with helping with recipients. Though maybe that’s not totally true, as what helped me the most this year was not only some he provided last year but the last two years’ Annual Reports, which he put together.

Anyway, having been doing this for six years now, there are some things that have changed and some that stay the same. So enjoy some fun facts!

-There were 90 cards in the first holiday card run in 2006. They were all sent on the same day.

-Daily batches of holiday cards are always a multiple of 30 because that’s how many labels there are on the Avery label sheets I use.

-Cards are sealed using a moist napkin and clear tape. So, don’t worry, my tongue goes nowhere near them!

December 3, 2011

Usiel the Occupying NYRAnian

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Here's To You!,NYRA Happenings,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 5:59 pm

Now for a youth rights, occupied edition of…

Here’s to You!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Usiel Phoenix!”

She’s the President of NYRA. Jeffrey Nadel’s the Vice President now. I like having the two of them running NYRA as I strongly believe they are our two greatest youth rights activists, though their powers and specialties are in different areas. Jeff’s a pro with the media and public relations and prestige and legal action and that sort of thing. Usi was an emancipated minor who’s had to not only overcome the conditions that led to her seeking it to begin with but the legal hurdles to at long last obtain it. And now that she’s gotten her freedom, she’s dedicated to doing the same for the other youth. She’s experienced more youth rights violations than most and is about attacking the root of the problem and expanding understanding of it.

And that is just what she’s been doing at Occupy Wall Street! Voting age. Behavior mod. You name it. She even stopped a mother from forcing her 15-year-old daughter home from the protests.

And then she was there when NYPD raided Zuccotti Park.

And the cops attacked her. They tried to suffocate her, but succeeded only in cracking a rib. Later they dislocated her elbow when forcing her to the ground.


And she battles on.

She’s alright now. But, damn, she is one of the bravest people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

Technically, since one of the main things she’s been doing there is promoting youth rights, she experienced police brutality in the line of duty, so to speak.

Yet due to some weird technicalities her actions were completely left out of NYRA Freedom.

(Good Lord, our own organization is censoring Occupy stuff from its news! LOL)

And this is only the most recent of her wonderful youth rights endeavors. Last year, when we were rallying at the Supreme Court during the oral arguments for Schwarzenegger v EMA (later changed to Brown v EMA, which you may recall we won 7-2), she gave that amazing speech about free speech and voting rights! Not to mention her work leading up to it to find people to share their thoughts on the value of video games for our Amicus Brief. She’s also helped UTEC Lowell with their campaign to lower the Lowell, MA voting age to 17. She testified in DC against the curfew. She gave a presentation at the 2010 Annual Meeting about her emancipation process. And on top of all that, she’s the only board member besides myself who’s a regular at chats, who is interested in what our members have to say. Plus lots of other stuff I’m surely forgetting.

She’s a fierce fighter for the cause. We’re very honored to have her. πŸ™‚

August 31, 2011

Round 11 Complete!

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 9:16 pm

“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune.” -Seals and Crofts, Summer Breeze

Now for the eleventh time and ten years exactly after the end of the first, here we are on this lovely…


The final day of this eleventh round of the 100 Days of Summer! A tradition dating back to 2001, finishing a round of each day occurring exactly ten years after the corresponding days of the original run. Began May 24 and ends today. Another summer has come by, and goodness, who’d have thought a round of the 100 Days of Summer that begins with me dancing on a giant piano could be so crazy?

Oh, yeah, I danced on a giant piano! Let’s get into the recap.

Day 1, horribly sleep deprived and feverish with an ill-timed late spring cold, I picked up Kathleen O’Neal in Georgetown and headed to Greenbelt, only to get pulled over by a DC cop for going the wrong way down a one-way street. Gah! Despite delay, got to Greenbelt and caught Bolt Bus and by noon we were in New York City! At long last, I got to Ferrara in Little Italy, where I’d wanted to go the last several times I went to the city but wasn’t able to. Then to a piercing place Kathleen wanted to see, then to the Met, then met Gella! Then to FAO Schwarz where I found the Big Piano and played Ode to Joy with my legs. Hehe. And by 7pm we just barely made the bus back to DC.

Day 2, still feverish. Sitting in a hot car fixes that right up!

Day 3, skipped work and went to NYRA office for annual meeting planning.

Day 5, laaaaate night of hanging out with Kathleen!

Day 6, still hanging out with Kathleen since previous day, saw 3am brawl in Adams Morgan, helped buy groceries at like 6am before finally getting home and sleeping! Also, poorly attended board meeting where some troublesome staffing changes were mentioned. And the summer NYRA drama begins!

June 27, 2011

Final Boss Defeated

And by final boss, I mean the Supreme Court has rendered its verdict in Brown v EMA, formerly known as Schwarzenegger v EMA. This was the case where California has been defending its ban of selling M-rated video games to people under 18. It went all the way to the Supreme Court. On November 2, 2010, day of the oral arguments, we NYRAnians rallied in front of the Court in defense of youth rights and free speech. And Usiel gave this amazing speech, of which I totally shot the video! And after that it was just a matter of waiting and seeing…

And today came the verdict at last…

7-2, in favor of EMA. Two dissenters were Stephen Breyer and (surprising absolutely no one) Clarence Thomas.

WE WON!!!!

Check out the official document here!

I’ve been retweeting a lot of remarks and articles today in response to this ruling, so here’s a nice roundup.

December 31, 2010

WTF 2010

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 10:32 pm

And here we are. New Year’s Eve 2010, looking ahead to the still uncertain 2011. Though more on 2011 a year from now once it has actually occurred. Right now, let’s have a look back at 2010. It’s a year that from the get-go seemed rather, well, odd. Now through it, well, it was odd, certainly annoying much of the time, and certainly without a lot of the awesome encounters previous years had. Though with two heart-breaking losses. In any case, now for the recap!

January: Check Engine

-I think I’ll make guacamole
-Wow, this guacamole is fucking gross. Ack! Is this earwax?!
-Oh, I got the wrong kind of avocados. Okay.
-I need to get NYRA’s blog restarted.
-Ugh, NYRA online community is pissing me off, seriously.
-I’ll try this guacamole again, with the right avocados this time…
-WTF?! Why is my check engine light on?
-Oh, I left the gas cap loose. Lulz
-I think I’ve got an idea for a hashtag Twitter campaign for NYRA.
-Still awkward and uncomfortable? Well, fuck you too then!

December 16, 2010

#16tovote on the 16th – Myths and Facts

Starting this past February, I’ve been running a little Twitter campaign called #16tovote on the 16th, where we tweet about lowering the voting age throughout the 16th of the month. Today is the eleventh run of the event, which has grown a little since it began, though its success varies month to month, hardly a linear progression.

Anyway, the idea is that there are a lot of tweets on this specific day in support of lowering the voting age, and all tweets must use the hashtag #16tovote. This way, I can watch the search results for the hashtag to see who and what has contributed to the event. Fairly simple. Yet even so, I often find myself having to clarify the same things constantly, to bust some myths that don’t want to be busted. Such as…

Myth: The #16tovote hashtag is for use only on the 16th.

Fact: The #16tovote hashtag is for use whenever, for any tweet about lowering the voting age. The event #16tovote on the 16th of course is special in that it specifically uses the hashtag because of the emphasis on voting age tweeting. Sort of how even though Thanksgiving is about eating turkey, we still eat turkey throughout the rest of the year.

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