Meet The Two Teens Encouraging Other Teens To Raise Their Voices On Their New Podcast, “Teens Speak Up”
Lucy and Amelia are two fifteen-year-old social justice advocates from New York City. They have been raising their voices on issues they are passionate about, and now they are encouraging other teens to do the same on their podcast, “Teens Speak Up”.
How and why did you get started in activism?
Lucy: When I was in seventh grade, Trump was elected. I remember how upset I was seeing the beautiful, strong women that I look up to being so upset. When I heard about the women’s march I was so excited. I went with my sister, our friends, and my dad. It was such an empowering experience that I will never forget. I mainly got started in activism because there were so many injustices in the world that I want more people to know about. I want to make change on both a local and universal level and I think starting Teens Speak Up and being involved with so many great nonprofits is really helping that.
Activism and social justice work have always been omnipresent in my life. My parents come from social justice backgrounds- my mom making documentaries with themes of impartiality, political righteousness and virtue. My dad has worked for politicians, and he also makes documentaries with social justice driven initiatives. My grandfather is a Civil Rights lawyer. I’m a reform Jew, and our core values are equality and social justice driven actions. When I was four and eight, I would go campaigning for Obama with my parents in East Coast areas. There was never a specific time where I came to the realization that I was a part of social justice movements, the fight for equality and virtue has always been something that I’ve been a part of.
What’s one of the hardest parts about being a teen in 2019?
One of the hardest parts of being a teen in 2019 is probably when politicians or adults tell me and my friends that we are just kids and we can’t really make change. This is so aggravating, because ever since the Parkland shooting, more and more teenagers have been making so much of a difference fighting for what they believe is right.
Being a girl in the Trump Era is the most radical, iconoclastic, introspective, emotional, and profound living experience I’ve ever been engulfed by. It’s a relentless struggle of resistance, intransigence, anger, frustration, and desperation. It is difficult to hold onto your sanity and emotional wellbeing, and be a regularly functioning person and student.
Why do you think it’s important that the youths voices are represented?
In the Long run, we are the ones affected. We are the ones going to be dealing with climate change in 20 years. We are the ones that see our best friends being shot in their classrooms. We say we are the future, because we literally are. Most of the politicians Who are making all these executive decisions won’t even be alive in 30 years. We still have way more than half of our lives left. Before a decision is made or a new law is announced, politicians need to hear our voices. I’m hoping in the future, maybe even whoever is elected in 2020 will make it one of their policies that before a decision is made or a new law is announced, they will make it one of their priorities to hear our voices.
All massive revolutionary movements have been lead by young people. Look at the Civil Rights Movement, the Pro-Choice movement, the fight for equitable HIV/AIDS treatment, the fight for climate action. Young people’s voices are essential to dictate the political policies and progressive action of our country.
Have you ever faced backlash from adults when you speak your voice such as “you’re just a kid”?
HELL YEAH. People say that all the time. It’s so frustrating! I mean, look at Greta Thunberg. She organized an international school walk out that has already caught so many adults and politicians attention. She was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. I mean that’s crazy! Greta Thunberg is not “just a kid.” She is a changemaker.
All the time. That phrase is extremely degenerative, belittling and ignorant of our incessant hard work. It’s important to remind the adults that intelligence and political wisdom is not defined by age, and that young people are the future and the present of this country.
How and why did you two decide to start Teens Speak Up?
I realized that so many teens are passionate about social justice issues and it is incredibly important it is that we are heard. I wanted to do something different and I feel like podcasts are so convenient and not many teenagers have a podcast so I just went for it! Then Amelia DMd me and we just started recording from then on! We have made it so more and more teens voices are heard, and Amelia has become one of my closest friends and without Teens Speak Up, none of that, would have happened. I’m so incredibly grateful for my wonderful co-host, our listeners and guests and I can’t wait to keep on doing what we’re doing.
I’ve always been someone who listens to podcasts, they hold the power of being therapeutic and entertaining, while also being educational. I saw on social media that Lucy was looking for a co-host, and I jumped on the chance to perpetuate what I appreciate. Lucy and I had previously established connections, but this podcast has certainly brought us closer, and I’m so grateful for our friendship. As my friend Arielle Geismar says, “family through activism”.
Which episode have you done so far that has had the biggest impact/ which episode was your favorite?Lucy:
Our first guest, Ava Monroe, the executive director of the cure campaign definitely has made the biggest impact and was 100% my fav. She’s such a cool gal and getting to know her, and why she created the cure was so interesting and fun. It was also very memorable because it was our first episode!
I don’t think there has been one episode in particular that has had the biggest impact on me, and there isn’t one that I valued the most. I hold them in equal regards, as they all have certain aspects that I am passionate about and empowered by. They all are fabulously mind opening!
What issues are you eager to address in future episodes?
There’s so many!! But definitely LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, we would love to have more executive directors, and some cool teens to talk about whatever they’re passionate about!!
I hope to address the Israel and Palestine conflict from the perspective of a non-stereotypical Zionist and progressive, pacifist reform Jew, as that outlook is overlooked and isolated from media attention. I also am looking to discuss the nuances of sexual violence, as I feel that nuances within social justice movements aren’t given fair consideration and dialogue.
Where do you hope you and your podcast is a year from now?
I hope to enlarge our audience and get more exposure on our brand. I would love to gain a larger following. I also hope to do more things like this! But honestly all I want, is to create a loving, inviting space for teens to just speak their minds.
As Lucy said, I hope to broaden our audience and expand our brand. Additionally, I want to have teens on the podcast that aren’t necessarily left-wing and progressive, as with what we often isolatedly label “The Other Side” is essential to developing educated, all-encompassing ideologies.
Lucy and Amelia are certainly doing great things. There podcast, “Teens Speak Up” is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and pretty much anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can follow Teens Speak Up on Instagram @teensspeakup. Also, be sure to keep up with Lucy @ilovelucyivey and Amelia @lafilleamelia on Instagram.