In 2015, Generation Citizen alum and Community Change Fellow (CCF) Miajia Jawara delivered a powerful speech at Generation Citizen and the Ford Foundation’s Educating for Democracy convening. Miaija’s speech, centered around her transformation through action civics, received a standing ovation by convening attendees. Miaija tells the story of her experiences interning through CCF at the Urban Youth Collaborative and discussing the school-to-prison pipeline and unjust and biased disciplinary codes in NYC schools. She recalls taking to the the streets to protest injustices around the death of Michael Brown. She remembers visiting the Truthworker Theatre Company and watching students transform their surroundings into jail cells, as they re-enacted the brutalities that many youth face in prison. And finally, she shares her commitment to speaking up and participating in political life for the long-term.
Since Educating for Democracy, Miaija has become a local leader of the Urban Youth Collaborative's "Dignity in Schools" campaign, was recently featured on Democracy Now speaking about the school-to-prison pipeline, and appeared as a panelist at a New York University School of Law workshop on sex ed policies.
"Being as young as I am, I’ve been told that I don’t have a place in politics, that my voice is insignificant, that no one would ever listen. Oh, the lies they’ve told me. My voice matters a lot, and because of GC I’ve had the opportunity to not only voice my opinion, but to have it heard. GC needs to be in every high school in the country. We are the going to inherit this government. If you go into any school, I guarantee that you’ll find kids who envision themselves as President or Secretary of State. We know what we want to do, we just don’t know where to go. Young or old, black or white, regardless who you are, or where you come from, your voice matters, you matter, and what you can do to change your community matters.”