Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor
Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor was an organization based in
Ann Arbor, Michigan. It existed from 1970 to 1979, and is often cited in more recent academic literature as one of the leading forerunners of several youth movements in the United States, including the youth rights movement, youth voice movement, and the youth media movement.
The organization was founded by fifteen-year-old Keith Hefner and other Ann Arbor teenagers, and served as a principal informational and organizational hub for a host of similar efforts around the country. Its central aims included student control of education, the free development of youth culture, and an end to discrimination against youth, with related emphases on
gay rightsfor young people, environmentalism, and an end to the Vietnam War. Youth Liberation also allied with older radicals in Ann Arbor- and Detroit-area organizations such as the White Panther Partyand the Human Rights Party.
In 1972, Youth Liberation's
Sonia Yaco, a fifteen-year-old student, ran for the Ann Arbor School Board as a member of the local Human Rights Party. Regulations stipulated that only adults could run for school board, but Yaco's demands for a student voice in school governance earned her 1,300 votes as a write-in candidate, or eight percent of the total. Her campaign indirectly influenced the establishment of the experimental, alternative Community High School in Ann Arbor later that year.
The group's publications arm, the Youth Liberation Press, began in 1969 as a separate entity known as the
High School Independent Press, based in Chicago, Illinois. After a short stint from 1970-1972 in Houston, Texas, where the press began publishing "FPS", a news service for youth, the press moved to Ann Arbor and merged with Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor. In addition to "FPS" (later "Magazine of Young People's Liberation"), the press put out several collections of essays in book and pamphlet format, including:
*"How to Start a High School Underground Newspaper" (Chicago, IL: High School Independent Press, 1969).
*"Youth Liberation: News, Politics and Survival Information" (Washington, NJ: Times Change Press, 1972).
*"High School Women's Liberation" (Ann Arbor, MI: Youth Liberation Press, 1976).
*"A Youth Liberation Pamphlet" (Ann Arbor, MI: Youth Liberation Press, 1977).
*"Growing Up Gay" (Boston, MA: Carrier Pigeon, 1978).
*Keith Hefner, "Children's Rights Handbook" (Ann Arbor, MI: Youth Liberation Press, 1979).
The group's manifesto was reprinted in "The Children's Rights Movement: Overcoming the Oppression of Young People", edited by Beatrice and Ronald Gross (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1977), pp. 329-33.
"YOUTH LIBERATION PROGRAM LIST OF WANTS" -- "We must liberate ourselves from the death trip of corporate America.":1. We want the power to determine our own destiny.:2. We want the immediate end of adult chauvinism.:3. We want full civil and human rights.:4. We want the right to form our education according to our needs.:5. We want the freedom to form into communal families.:6. We want the end of male chauvinism and sexism.:7. We want the opportunity to create an authentic culture with institutions of our own making.:8. We want sexual self-determination. We believe all people must have the unhindered right to be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual.:9. We want the end of class antagonism among young people.:10. We want the end of racism and colonialism in the United States and the world.:11. We want freedom for all unjustly imprisoned people.:12. We want the right to be economically independent of adults.:13. We want the right to live in harmony with nature.:14. We want to rehumanize existence.:15. We want to develop communication and solidarity with the young people of the world in our common struggle for freedom and peace.
History of Youth Rights in the United States
*Mike Mosher, [http://bad.eserver.org/issues/2000/47/mosher.html "Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor: Young, Gifted and Media-Savvy"] , "Bad Subjects", no. 47 (January 2000).
*Keith Hefner, [http://www.youthcomm.org/Documents/Evolution.htm "The Evolution of Youth Empowerment at a Youth Newspaper"] , originally published in "Social-Policy", vol. 19, no. 1 (Summer 1988), pp. 21-24.
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