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My Tenth Newsletter

1 April 2001


April Fool's Day. But we can only be fooled - or fools - if we let it happen to ourselves. If we stay involved and aware. If we ask the questions, then we cannot be fooled.

And this week, let's look at what we should all welcome, question and understand: the changing face of the United States. This past Friday, March 30th, the last of the state-by-state figures were released by the US Census Bureau and they show a radically changed nation, fulfilling the promise intended by its Founders: a welcoming place for those who wish to be free (even if the Founders were not especially tolerant themselves!).

Look at the 1 April New York Times, "U.S. Now More Diverse, Ethnically and Racially," and also check out their truly informative archive of census maps, charts and interactive features at Today's graphic of the entire nation reflecting its diversity is not yet online but check back to see it. And if you choose "A New Look at Race In America" under their multimedia section, you'll see a map pop-up where you can choose information about your home state.

In California where I live, the majority of the population is now people of color. Throughout the country, factors of race, economics and diversity are resulting in shifting concern groups and redistricting for representation. It is up to all of us to ensure that the political interest blocks are not solely about race and diversity but of various individuals and ideologies joining in many different and changing coalitions to get what they want done.

Another way not to be "fooled": VOTE. Spring elections are not over and the local issues throughout the country that we face can be the ones that determine the paths of our lives. And upcoming: special elections, fall elections and then, the gearing up for the federal contests of 2002. In "off-year" elections, those who run your towns, cities, states, as well as school boards are chosen. In these elections, decisions about energy policy, transportation, community centers and land development are made.

Last week I spoke to a middle school in Central California and it was sad to hear the response of an 8th-grader to my query if anyone had been active in the Fall election cycle. Her response, "I tried to get my parents to vote, but they wouldn't." In the overcrowded school district, if enough parents had come out to vote, perhaps funding and people dedicated to building new facilities might have eased her pathway through education.

For those new to this newsletter, I am the author of TEEN POWER POLITICS: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD, a new issue-oriented book for young Americans on civic and political activism. Engagement is integral to our democracy and youth and young voters - citizens and residents already - definitely have the voice, power, intelligence, sense of justice, passion and energy to give the benefit of their participation right now! My website and this newsletter provide updates on current issues along with resources for change.


A. A key letter reminding me about corporate globalization concerns.
B. Current news & concerns
C. Make Yourself Heard! Opportunities for involvement
D. What I'm Reading
E. Another Letter


A reader and Boston College student wrote me after the 9th Newsletter as follows: " I haven't heard much on the recent anti-globalization movement and the involvement young people have had therein. At least, not from the news clippings written in your mailing list. what's up with that?"

Looking back over my newsletters (yes, I have forgotten what I wrote about and am now being more organized!), I see that I have not talked about corporate globalization although TPP, the website, brings this up in the issues and activism sections at and as cited below.

A quick definition of "corporate globalization": The increasing mergers of larger and larger businesses/corporations into multinational conglomerates whose economic interests often override concerns for the health, culture and well-being of the inhabitants or eco-systems of the nations where they operate. Since many of the individuals who run such corporations are not from the country or community where their businesses are carried out, their consideration of local concerns are lacking. The anti-globalization movement in the words of the website, CorpWatch, "counters corporate-led globalization through education and activism. We work to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization--a diverse movement for human rights, labor rights and environmental justice."

The concerns of individual citizens as well as our larger global interests become affected by what these often country-sized (in economic terms) corporations do. What are some of the issues? Environment. Economics. Women's Rights & Gender Issues. Human Rights (including the child labor/sweatshop issues discussed in the last newsletter). Biotechnology/Biosafety and Biodiversity. Indigenous Concerns. Health. Peace and Security. Tourism and Trade. Energy Resources.

In l999, the general populace started to become aware of these issues through the effective protests held in Seattle opposing the WTO (World Trade Organization) meetings. Many of the participants were high school and college youth and for the most part, the demonstrations were powerful but not violent. On TPP's website, check out the letter from Alexandra Bradbury, then 16 and a junior at Seattle's Garfield High School, who participated in the November l999 WTO protests/

1. To learn more about these issues and various means of combating increasing economic globalization, use your search engines under "corporate globalization" and check out these sites: Independent Media Center CorpWatch The Ruckus Society (good links to other activism sites) Adbusters Teen Power Politics: Make Yourself Heard 2. For two great film documentaries, check out Big Noise Films, a non-profit media collective (All proceeds from their projects return to the communities in which they were filmed in the form of humanitarian aid) at for (a) "Zapatistas", a documentary featuring music by: Rage Against The Machine, Neil Young And Crazy Horse, Ozomatli, Dj Vadim, Peanut, Butter Wolf, and Silvio Rodriguez and chronicling the uprising by indigenous citizens of Chiapas, Mexico against repression by the government and their recognition that their situation is directly affected by the forces of corporate globalization. I've seen this documentary and admire its informative take on the issues. (b) "This is What Democracy Looks Like", which "weaves the footage of over 100 videographers from the Independent Media Center into a gripping document of what really happened [at the WTO protests] on Seattle streets in 1999." 3. A totally different view of what the digital divide might mean re indigenous cultures: "Digital Divide or Dividend?" By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN 16 March 01.


1. Drugs - the status of the War on Drugs. A complicated issue to say the least but current policies against dealers, against other countries, against our youth are not working. It seems time to re-evaluate and learn what we can really do. Here's several introductory URLs as you determine your own position:
a. Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation, America's leading nonprofit organization working on "harm reduction," an alternative approach to drug policy and treatment that focuses on minimizing the death, disease, crime and suffering caused both by drug use and by the drug war.
b. "Harm Reduction: A Unifying Movement" by Jessica Meyer, WireTap January 2, 2001 Is "harm reduction" a real solution to drug problems, or just another catch phrase the adults in our lives try to push on us? Health educator and activist Jessica Meyer takes us on a journey from her local needle exchange site to a national conference to find out what harm reduction is about, and how it may be relevant to all of our lives.
c. "Drugs and college financial aid Students (and Senators?) vs. the Drug War" Philip Smith, March 13, 2001

2. From the South Florida Sun Sentinel: "Tax Relief Will Not Benefit Millions Of Children" by Raul Yzaguirre (pay archive): "President Bush's tax proposals will be of no benefit to millions of children, including a large number of Latino and African-American children.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 33 percent of all kids would not benefit from the Bush tax plan. But for Latino children, the number is 56 percent while for African-American children it is 55 percent."

3. Campaign Finance Reform. So many citizens from all sides of the political fence agree that the gross amount of money in elections is subverting our democracy from the voice of the people. I urge you to stay on top of this issue RIGHT NOW as the McCain Feingold bill continues through the Congress. Check out this site as well:

4. Energy - ah energy. Well, I do live in California. Yes we didn't stay aware of what was going on with our utilities in recent years and now we are wondering how to take back control. But where is the check on this privatization? Every state needs to understand what happened here. Check out Robert Scheer's great column comments in the Sunday (1 April) Los Angeles Times

5. For women - there is a new marketing venture out there trying to pass off a strong Prozac-type drug to accommodate what might be just PMS. Its use can be dangerous. Check out "Misleading Millions?: How one drug company is making dough off your period each month." by Lucy Maher on ChickClick.


1. Blue Jean Online is for teen female journalists. Here's what they say: "blue jean online is devoted to publishing what young women are thinking, saying, and doing! Here your creative work can be published for a worldwide audience of young women to experience! Submit your writings, artwork, photography, comics, crafts, animations, original music, and anything you want us to consider for publication." Check out their site at and their submission guidelines at

2. Youth In Control is a project of Youth Radio. This newly launched site is a place where students at Youth Radio can express themselves in a multimedia environment while learning valuable skills in journalism and web, audio and video production. It is also a place where youth all over the world can interact with us and hear what we have to say.

3. Freezerbox Magazine is good to look at and possibly to write for as they say they are a " a forum for good thinking and good writing [that will] will include both professional and non-professional writers alike. Activist-oriented essays that include non-mainstream views on current events as well as links to sources of further information are especially encouraged. We also publish fiction, reviews, photography and art--as well as non-political essays."

4. A cool site, "High School Underground" where students can express themselves. There's a great article called "Channeling Rebellion" by a 45 year-old author and journalist and a forum for all sorts of kids to say what they think.

D. HERE'S WHAT I'M READING, a young adult content and commerce hub linking a national network of alternative city and content Web sites and local alternative newspapers online.

2. Because it's now National Poetry Month, Knopf Publishing Group has once again instituted its daily "Poem-A-Day" email posts. Poetry is a wonderful way to think about stuffas the content is not only the subject of political concern at times, but also one of the sublime political tools around. And it can be just beautiful! To subscribe,


In response to my Free The Children note in Newsletter #9, a friend wrote me to tell me about an important group in California, the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, a group of students and teachers from high schools and colleges in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas who are passionately committed to the fight for human rights, specifically the rights of children and young adults worldwide.
She reminds me that the activism to protect children worldwide is also necessary right at home and thus, youth in the STF are "currently working on promoting some legislation to protect migrant farm worker children who work in the fields without any of the usual child labor protections other children have. Our recent HRW report found that these kids were working long hours, are exposed to pesticides, not given proper water despite the heat and were not given medical care. Tom Harkin is developing a bill and [the students] are promoting it with their congressional reps." In the HRWCalifornia's Spring newsletter, two of the students lay out their political strategy, "HRW Student Task Force Organize to Pass CARE Act" (at bottom of newsletter)

There is action we can all take now ( and these students are showing us the way. Check out also the Human Rights Watch publication, "Fingers To The Bone: United States Failure To Protect Child Farmworkers"

Check out TEEN POWER POLITICS: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD and its companion website, TPP was written as a guide and a tool for activism. If ever that tool was needed, it is now.

Again, please let me know of a concern or activity you would like me to tell others about. And send this on to others and suggest that they e-mail me if they would like to be added to this list (or if they wish to be removed).

Thanks for taking the time to read this! If you received this twice, please let me know as I refine my list.

Sara Jane Boyers
Press/Twenty-First Century Book ISBN: 0-7613-1391-5, paper $9.95/ISBN
0-7613-1307-9 hardcover, $25.90
© 2001 Sara Jane Boyers