Jenny Sazama—International Liberation Reference Person for Allies to Young People

Allies to Young People

My constituency is allies to young people. It looks to me that, as things get tighter and harsher in the world, young people’s oppression gets worse. Young people are small, easy targets for upset.

The less slack and resource adults have, the harder their lives are and the worse they feel about themselves. Then it is harder for them to remember to be allies to anybody, including young people. It is harder for them to have room to play and think and organize with young people.

Parents need help, closeness, appreciation, and most of all discharge. It is such an unworkable set-up for them to be alone with their extremely challenging and time-consuming job.

Stopping climate change and working for environmental justice are the key tasks for all of humanity. The work on every oppression is made more urgent by the timeline of climate change.

Most young people I know who get a chance to understand and think about climate change decide to do something about it. Young people are not confused about how this is their planet and their future depends on it.

Young people are always at the forefront of liberation movements. Our role as allies is to get behind them, share what we’ve learned, give perspective on what happens in movements, help them get out of upsets with each other and hard spots in their lives, and stay close to them.

Stopping climate change, working for environmental justice, and organizing for young people’s liberation are inseparable. A big part of our role as allies is to follow young people in having fun, enjoying life, and laughing while we work for change.

We need to teach everyone RC—including every young person and ally. From what I can see, it is the most important thing to have in the middle of movements. Without understanding the deep hurts we all carry, and having a way to discharge them, people will not be able sustain the relationships necessary for successful organizing.

Sexism is an important issue for my constituency. Hatred toward women, including mothers, has to stop. Women are often in caretaking positions and play important roles as allies to young people. Their work is invaluable, but it’s often treated like it is not real work.

Racism continues to be the major divider.

Racism and environmental injustice are showing up in famine and war. This is incredibly hard on young people. Wars are about profit. Taking care of young people has nothing to do with profit. The two are in direct conflict.

Native liberation is central to freeing all of us, at all ages, from confusions about how we live and the exploitation of others for our own “progress.”

We need to take seriously how young boys are treated. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get to where we go out in the streets and scream about all the ways that boys are put in little boxes and told to stand up straight and how the discharge process is so violently taken away from them?

I have made it my life’s work to be an ally to young people of color as they organize. I’ve seen them be increasingly angry at people in oppressor roles. This is always a good place to start. And I think it’s our job to think about how to have organizing be about people fighting for what’s right and staying close to each other.

A big job for us as allies is, as always, to discharge whatever gets in our way of feeling good enough about ourselves to stay close—and to do this for ourselves and have fun.

Jenny Sazama

International Liberation Reference Person for Allies to Young People

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA

(Present Time 188, July 2017)


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00