Raise Your Voice!

Credit Hamza Aden

We want to know what matters to young people today. We've all got an issue, a belief, an idea that drives us forward, something that really matters. Raise Your Voice! is Maine Public's online platform for ideas and perspectives from students across the state. We reach a broad audience interested in education, supporting young people, and especially, in hearing what today's youth have to say.

For years the climate has been a part of the global conversation; however, the public has gotten so used to hearing about climate change that for many, it has become an accepted issue. We know it’s happening and recognize that it’s too late to do anything to stop it, so the general population does nothing at all. That is a dangerous mindset.

Around 55 percent of the world lives in an urban area in 2018, and a United Nations study released in May estimates that will increase to around 68 percent by 2050. But the effort surrounding climate change is almost always based off of its impact on the glaciers in Antarctica or fish having to find a new habitat due to rising heat levels in the ocean. 

Maine Youth Fight for Environmental Protection

Oct 22, 2018

Growing up on a tiny island off the coast of Maine, Lucia Daranyi noticed the increase of trash and the snow still melting far into spring.  However, it was when her 6th grade science teacher focused her on the “big problems” that her passion for protecting the environment came out. 

Today, her big problem is the state government. Daranyi, 16, works with Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit, in her home state. She, along with several other youth, spoke to change a 2003 Maine law that entitles the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “sufficient to eliminate any dangerous threat to the climate.” However the goals have not been met and as a youth activist, Datanyi doesn’t think Maine is doing enough. 

It's Time to Close the Pay Gap and Share Opportunity

Oct 22, 2018

We are separated from the day we are born. Some wear blue hats and some wear pink. It becomes natural for girls to play with dolls based on beauty while boys are encouraged to play with heroes. These stereotypes are planted in our heads from day one, and they are stereotypes that build the idea that women are inferior and do not deserve as much as men. Wage inequalities are a result of this idea of inferiority.

Unequal pay is widespread and it causes many issues. In the United States, women make 80 cents for every $1 a man makes. This is a huge deal; our world revolves around money. 

Plastic. It is everywhere. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, take a look around. Trash bins, plastic bags, balloons, storage tubs, cleaning sprays, Legos and other children’s toys. Still need some convincing?

A Libertarian Finds Common Ground with Black Lives Matter

Oct 20, 2018

I want to make something clear before I begin. I’m conservative. I disagree with a premise of the Black Lives Matter movement: that the police force in America is defined and corrupted by institutional racism.

Are there individual police officers who are racist? Yes, and this is totally unacceptable, but it doesn't mean that police are defined by it or that the system is currently set up to be racist toward minorities. 

It is easy to dismiss kids’ infatuation with video games as addiction or obsession when in fact, it comes from a completely different reason. I am on the spectrum, so I, along with many others, have gained an immense interest in video games. 

I loved the wonder that they held, and the ability to make me feel powerful. I was no longer the shy, socially awkward kid; I was a wizard, a soldier, hell, even a ringwraith in Cirith Ungol (A location in Lord of the Rings). 

In games, you leave behind the predictable world that plays by very specific rules. Maybe sometimes it is a bit obsessive to want to play constantly. However, I feel it is justified because of the desire to become more than you are.

We have all experienced the feeling when our heart drops to our stomach and our throat tightens; a look of disappointment stares back at us in the mirror.

Failure is unavoidable. It is something that we all have in common, but it is also relative and subjective to each person. Failure shapes us. We can choose to let it keep us from trying again, or we can grow stronger because of it. 

New Mainers Bring Energy, Positive Outlook to State

Oct 2, 2018

In 8th grade, I was struggling with friends. I felt alone and disconnected from my peers, and school didn’t interest me. Halfway through the school year, a new student arrived. She was from Iraq and had moved to the United States a couple of years prior. 

Over the course of the rest of the year, we both took comfort in our friendship after associating with the wrong crowds, and we leaned on each other for emotional support. We bonded over politics, exchanged our thoughts on culture, and gushed over the TV show “Once Upon a Time.” As I got to know her better, I learned she and her family fled violence in their home country, and the U.S. was one of the last places they could turn.

I'm going to say a word, and I want you to think of the first thing that comes to mind. The word? Opioids. What did you think of?

I asked this same question to a variety of different people over the summer, ranging from food stall owners to recovering addicts, all of whom I came across on the streets of Portland.

You’ve probably had one of those moments, driving down some packed city street or a rural backroad relying on a directions app, when you’ve exclaimed, “What did we do before phones?” Ask a member of Generation Z, and they may not be able to tell you. 

Some may bemoan map reading as a lost art, still others may say good riddance to a difficult and outdated system. No matter where you stand on the particular issue of digital directions, it is hard to argue that the cell phone hasn’t enhanced society.

From easier communication to near-universal access to the world-wide web, from personal cameras to portable music players, the cell phone has completely changed human life, and in many ways for the better. 

But what happens to a vulnerable part of the population—teenagers—who hardly remember a time when cell phones weren’t a universal part of life? 

Want a Voice? Young Voters Can Write the Future

Sep 24, 2018

The day was June 12th, 2018. It was 7:56 am, and the sun was shining brightly in the sky. Everything felt so amazing, so perfect. I felt so light and so jovial as I walked over the dewy, green grass into the town hall. I was as happy as I possibly could have been. Today was going to be a good day because today would be my first time voting. 

I remember how elated I felt as my pen dragged against the paper ballot. This was the day I had been waiting for, for years. I could actually vote. I could finally have a say in how my government was run.

Lessons From Flint: Clean Water is Everyone's Right

Sep 23, 2018

When I was about twelve, my mom and I had stopped at Target and got a Brita water dispenser. It wasn’t particularly large; it should have held about 18 cups worth of water. But, the thing is, when we went through the box once we were home, there was something I wasn’t expecting: a thin cobalt blue, small, electronic device. A water tester. Suddenly, I realized why my mom was willing to spend $30 on a fancy pitcher. 

The past is the consequence of what we have done. The present and the future will be the result of what we are doing in the now; all choices lead us to the future.

My family and I, we made a choice, and that choice brought us here. My name is Jemima, and I am from Angola, a beautiful country, located on the South Atlantic coast of West Africa, between Namibia and Congo, a country that is wonderfully warm, with happy people who love to dance, with beaches and forests, a country where summer is longer than winter.

Outlawing Conversion Therapy Takes Education, Awareness

Sep 10, 2018

What is conversion therapy? The Human Rights Campaign defines it as “a range of dangerous claims and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” 

Conversion therapy is practiced through several different means, such as prayer, psychotherapy, and aversion therapy. Due to the harm it causes, it has been denounced by every major American medical organization. Conversion therapy has been scientifically proven to cause anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicidality. The practice is so dangerous that fourteen different states have outlawed it. So, why isn't Maine one of these states?

Everyone has a different connection to music.

Some, like my grandmother, are indifferent -- she knows it exists, but it’s just not for her. And then there’s me; music has always played some part in my life.