It is an ongoing problem for young people to get their voices heard, especially due to today’s mainstream media mainly covering the shameful and dire actions of our generations youth.
Plenty of negative stereotypes are trickled into everyday news and when there is a positive representation in the news it is normally because an exceptional individual has done something out of the ordinary. However, many people have spotted a problem with this. It has been suggested that the general public are only interested when society goes wrong and a significant amount of ‘good news’ goes unnoticed.
Although it is mainly social media that perpetuates these fixed stereotypes, the media is also an excellent platform for passionate individuals to acquire their own voice and make it heard. RISE is a registered charity, founded in 2016 to combat the persistent disenfranchisement and marginalization of many young people. Even though the charity is in its early stages it has been received well and has already staged events and different projects working with a team of professionals from the music and film industry.
I spoke to the co-founder of the charity, Mahla Axon, to see why the organization was set up and how it helps young people who get involved, “RISE definitely comes from a place of strength. We know that all young people have ideas, ambitions, opinions, power but we live in a country of inequality and therefore many young people are consistently marginalized from a society that actually makes them believe that none of these things matter, they don’t matter and they’ll never be able to create the change they want to see. But it’s a strange thing to be marginalized from a system that has actively done it to you in the first place. We want to stop young people from growing into believing this is what they are and simultaneously strengthen young people’s power whilst challenging all the negative perceptions that envelope them. The youth are political. RISE itself is being built by a collective of amazing, talented, disruptive young people, but politics has become a dirty word associated with a world that affects them but is beyond them, behind the dusty walls of Westminster. And we want to bring those perceptions down and reclaim the word as ours. We use strong, creative platforms (such as music, art and film), powerful role-models, professional experiences and build a range of skills so collectives of young people can self-organise, amplify their voices, inspire each other, take action and create the society they want. We basically want to bring forward the day that young people can own their futures.”
I was also lucky enough to go to one of the events organized by RISE where I spoke to someone involved with the projects that the charity has to offer. Tia, aged 17 has been involved with RISE since the beginning after Mahla Axon was her support worker when she was in care. Tia had been in care for 11 years and had a troubling past as she told us in her speech on the night. I managed speak to her after the show to see why she thinks RISE is so important. Tia said, “I think this is a really good organization, it bets on young people and gives them an opportunity to change their future. I know personally it has helped me overcome the things I need to and I am still working with the charity. It gives the younger generation a different way to speak their voice for example with music, poetry, film and art, rather than violence.”