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.
NYPD DID THIS
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. 🙂