, Salem, MA

March 28, 2013

Letter: Editorial a disservice to youths

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Regarding the editorial published Tuesday titled “Let’s have real ‘adult conversations,’” we as the youths of YMORE would like to respond. First of all, the editorial states “given whom he rolled out last week to plead his case for him — dozens of kids.” This gives the impression that YMORE is a puppet for Gov. Deval Patrick, when in reality we were at the Statehouse to meet with legislators, and invited him to join us. The author claimed that we “willingly serve” politicians, when they were serving us. His political prominence helped us get publicity and spread our message; we took the initiative to meet with Patrick and to have our voices heard. The signs referenced in the editorial were our own principles: Compassion, Equity and Courage. These principles were developed by youths at YMORE, and they reflect our beliefs.

Additionally, the editorial blatantly distorted the message that YMORE is trying to send: “There is no free lunch. Someone, someday, will have to pay for all the marvelous programs and initiatives purchased today with borrowed or squandered money. Guess who, kids!” We at YMORE understand that there isn’t a free lunch, we want enough lunch to go around. One of our principles is sustainability. The way we plan on paying for our “lunch” is by making our tax structure more progressive, which places the burden on those who can bear it best. We don’t agree with all of the facets of the governor’s revenue proposal, but the notion that “Patrick wants to raise taxes on every wage-earner in the state” is false. In the governor’s plan, the taxes would be lowered for people making up to $37,523 per year, and only raised by $100 on incomes up to $60,414.

Furthermore, when the editorial suggests to “send the kids home and have an adult conversation,” it is detrimental to the democratic process. If the authors had done their homework and looked into YMORE even the slightest bit, they would know just how much the state budget affects youths and why we have a stake in it aside from serving politicians. The state budget pays for many of our needs, including education, transportation, summer jobs, social workers and community centers. As youths, we want to protect our right to these services and not have to choose between them. We made this point at the press conference where the picture was taken, which the author clearly did not attend. The youths of Massachusetts are constituents as much as the “adults,” and though it is cliche, we have opinions that need to be heard.

Aside from the budget, at YMORE, we work to abolish systems of injustice such as racism, sexism, classism and ageism. Ageism is when anybody young or old is discriminated against because of their age. This editorial is a prime example of this as the author discredits anything we have to say as being words that were put into our mouths and that our opinions can’t possibly be our own and can’t possibly matter. We hope that in the future YMORE won’t be taken so lightly, and that future authors be better informed before writing.

Collin Kluchman, 16

Laura Diamond, 14

For the youths of YMORE