MAP: A Trip to NYC

By Lucy H

On February 21st at 6:30am, I piled into a van with five other teens and two chaperones headed for NYC, with a pit stop at Syracuse. We were visiting colleges, but more importantly we were following up on a connection we had made last fall during the NESAWG Conference. At the aforementioned conference, whose name stands for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, MAP had made a connection with the Youth Food Justice Network, a network of youth food groups based in New York City. We opened the conversation with them at the conference about collaboration and the food justice movement, and our trip to New York served as a follow-up continuing that discussion.

We met with youth representatives from several of their groups on Thursday, February 23rd, to discuss the upcoming People’s Climate Movement March on Washington D.C. at the end of April. More specifically, we convened in the building at the foot of the Highline Park to talk about planning and organizing our role and participation in the march.

I’ve always had strong feelings toward social justice and a desire to change the world for the better. But, as I’ve discovered, there aren’t a lot of platforms out there on which youth can stand and lead the charge for social justice. This came to my attention especially after attending a Youth Caucus at the CommonBound Conference last June. Now, meeting with the Youth Food Justice Network—consisting of Added Value, Friends of the Highline, East New York Farms, and other groups—felt empowering because it enabled me to take that first step toward advocacy. The ideas we created in that room that day will be put into motion and the effect will be monumental.

For example, we learned that the People’s Climate Movement, as of that moment, did not have anything planned in their agenda that specifically focused on food justice which is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of climate justice because it caters to the most basic human necessities. Together, as youths, we came up with a feasible plan to have the issues we fight for be represented in the March on Washington. It felt good to know that my voice can be heard.

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