Column, October 25, 1935, Page 2
The "Declaration of Rights of American Youth, which outlines the Requisites for a useful, creative, and happy life, has become the manifesto of young people all over the United States. It is the product of the Second American Youth Congress, composed of 1,205 delegates from 853 organizations representing 1,500,000 American youth, which met at Detroit from July 4-7, 1935. This group of young people, while realizing that it does not constitute separate social force, declares that youth has special problems of its own that must be brought forward. According to the Declaration the non-partisan and non-sectarian Youth Congress is "an attempt to unite youth of America., workers of hand and brain, on some common problems for the common good of all."
The "Declaration of Rights of American Youth" reaffirms the right of our generation to "a useful, creative, and happy life, the guarantees of which are: full educational opportunities, steady employment at adequate wages, security in time of need, civil rights and peace."
We have a right to life, cry the young people, who see mounting armaments, militarized youth, and imperialist profiteering as undeniable indications of a new world conflict. Youth is showing by its anti-war action that it is mobilizing to maintain peace.
We have a right to liberty, declares the. "Declaration." citing persecution of progressive forces, deportation of minority nationalities, and racial discrimination in America as omens of modern tyranny. Concrete. action demanding the maintenance of the elementary right of free speech. press, and assemblage, full academic freedom. and condemning fascism as a complete negation of our right to liberty is an attempt to realize in actuality the ideals of America.
We have a, right to happiness, insists the American Youth Congress.
We refuse to be the lost generation.. To attain this end, the Congress has drafted the American Youth Act, to aid unemployed and struggling youth. The act is at present being submitted to young people in America for discussion and revision. In January it will be introduced into Congress in its permanent form.
Broadening the terms of the National Youth Administration act, the American Youth Act provides for vocational and regular employment on public enterprises of unemployed youth between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five and full educational opportunities and vocational training for high school, college, and graduate students. However, the act specifies that all works projects authorized under these terms shall be projects actually beneficial to the Community, such as libraries, playgrounds, and schools, and that they shall not be of a military character. Workers on these projects would receive the recognized union wage.
The American Youth Act provides not less than fifteen dollars a month as aid to needy high school students, and not less than twenty-five dollars a month for college students. These benefits shall be extended to all youth without discrimination of race, sex, creed, or political affiliations.
The American Youth Act would be controlled by the Youth Employment Commissions, administrative boards to be set up consisting of one-third social service representatives of organized labor, and one-third service workers and educators. Funds necessary to carry out the provisions of the act shall be appropriated from the Treasury, and if necessary, raised from a taxation of inheritances; gifts, and incomes of $5,000 a year and over,
Student Council is sponsoring a meeting Wednesday to publicize the work of the American Youth Congress and the American Youth Act. By our endorsement and support of this activity we can affirm our inalienable rights to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness.