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Sometimes, our best teachers are our children and grandchildren. As we look out at the world today we see many incidents of injustice whose front-line advocates for change are not the mature persons in positions of power, but the young people whose values prompt them to speak out to correct injustices that happen when those with power look the other way. It takes courage to become a public advocate of a cause whose opponents resort to stonewalling at best and bullying, violent threats, and violent acts at worst. It takes courage, and it takes trust in the collective group-process that brings about change.
From time to time it helps members of the older generations to be reminded of the importance of risking everything to advance positive change. Indeed, many of us participated in the massive social change movements of our youth: civil rights, environmental rights, women’s rights, and peace rights. However, the goals of these four powerful movements – and the more recent fifth movement – economic rights – have not been reached and it is, currently, our younger generations who are stepping up in massive numbers in all of these areas. I highlight two of these courageous groups of young people whose activism is leading to vitally important shifts in both public awareness and institutional policy with the hope that readers will discover ways to serve these calls for justice within their own communities