May 18th, 2009, by

In a report out this week, the Economic Policy Institute says that more than half of African American children will likely be living in poverty next year. The numbers are staggering. The overall childhood poverty rate will climb to 27% and the poverty rate for African American children will reach 52.3% in 2010.

May 14th, 2009, by

President Obama delivered the first of three commencement addresses Wednesday night at Arizona State University. He urged young people to “step up” and even mentioned the dust-up over his not receiving an honorary degree from the university.

Next stops for the president: the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy.


May 8th, 2009, by

Before you drop a lot of cash on your mother this weekend, keep a few things in mind.

First, Mother’s Day began as an anti-war protest and was not intended to be the commercial holiday that it’s become.

Second, flower retailers are gearing up for you to send humongous bouquets to the mothers in your life, but moms really just want to spend time with their children.

And finally, if you insist on spending cash on mom during these tough economic times, at least check out some organic gift ideas, tips on buying green jewelry and a round-up of recession-friendly doo-dads for under $25.

Oh, and from all of us here at Young Voices, Happy Mother’s Day!

May 6th, 2009, by

Do you get your information from newspapers, on television, on the radio or online? Do you think everyone in your community has access to the networks they need (online or in-person) to find important information? How would you improve the quality of information available to the general public?

Fascinating questions, huh? Even more fascinating when you consider the fact that we’re living in a democracy and we (the people) need to be well informed.

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy has taken up the task of posing these and other questions as part of a study that assesses how information needs are being met in communities nationwide.

The study is in its public input phase right now, and that’s where PBS Engage comes in.

PBS Engage has created an interactive page for this project and would like Americans (that means you) to share how you get (and would like to get) your information in this digital age.

So check out the project, add your input and, of course, share your thoughts with the Young Voices below.

April 22nd, 2009, by

Today marks the 39th Earth Day. And even though the annual celebration on April 22nd began in the United States, it’s now a global celebration, with a billion people expected to participate this year.

Here are some articles to read, ideas to ponder, ways to observe the day and a documentary to watch (or not watch, depending on who’s reviewing it), all in the name of the Earth.

1) Before you start celebrating the day by weatherizing your home and installing that solar panel, be sure to bone up on the backstory. For instance, the history of Earth Day is tied to the late U.S. Senator Gaylor Nelson from Wisconsin, and the history of the Environmental Protection Agency is tied to President Nixon, who created the agency months after the first Earth Day.

2) There are many ways to observe Earth Day at home or at work, including carpooling, starting a compost pile in your backyard and taking lessons from “green boomers.”

3) And, if you’re looking for a little “change” in your Earth Day activities, look no further than the White House. The Obama administration‘s “green jobs” czar Van Jones says that the new administration makes this Earth Day special. See video with Van Jones below.

4) After you complete your Earth Day contributions, round up the family and check out the new Disney documentary Earth, which opens today. Film reviews are mixed (see here and here).

5) Be sure to break out your camera, snap some photos and join an Earth Day photo contest, including one that will plot photos from around the globe on a map.

6) And finally, tell us how you participated in Earth Day. 


April 17th, 2009, by

Actually, since the staff here is made up of “Young Voices,” we haven’t seen this in our lifetime. But we digress.

President Obama made a speech at the Summit of the Americas on Friday that called for a “new day” in U.S.-Cuba relations, and he has taken steps to lift restrictions for Cuban Americans on family travel and remittances that were put in place by President Bush.

April 13th, 2009, by

The First Dog, Bo, which the Obamas got for their daughters over the weekend, is not, we repeat, not, from a shelter.

Guess they didn’t learn from the backlash over the Bidens’ pet pick.

Animal rescue organizations are up in arms.

In a statement on Friday, the Executive Director of called the Obama’s decision a “missed opportunity.” “If Obama had adopted a pet from a shelter, it could have been the turning point for the pet-overpopulation problem in this country,” the Executive Director said in her statement.

The Humane Society is a bit more forgiving. Since Bo was returned by the family that originally purchased him, they’re calling Bo a “second-chance dog.” (There are questions about calling Bo a second-chance dog.) They put out a statement congratulating the first family on bringing Bo into their home.

The Obamas will make a donation to the Humane Society by giving a gift to its D.C. office.

Here’s the Humane Society’s pet adoption video to tug at your heartstrings.

April 7th, 2009, by

Vermont became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday, when the state legislature voted to override the governor’s veto of a same-sex marriage bill. Such marriages can be performed in Vermont as early as September. On the same day, the D.C. Council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The actions come just days after Iowa legalized same-sex marriages, which are also legal in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

States to watch: New Hampshire and New Jersey.

April 3rd, 2009, by

Iowa became the first state in the Midwest and the third state in the country, along with Massachusetts and Connecticut, to legalize same-sex marriage. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 1998 ban on same-sex marriage Friday. Same-sex marriages could begin in the Hawkeye State in three weeks. The opposition is outraged. The pundits are already looking at how this might impact the 2012 presidential race. And Californians on both sides of their state’s Proposition 8 debate spoke up about Iowa’s decision.

March 16th, 2009, by

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer joins the Rocky Mountain News in the Newspaper Death Watch. On Tuesday, Seattle’s 146-year-old paper will publish its last print edition, shutting down the daily newspaper but maintaining its online presence at

P-I subscribers will receive rival paper, The Seattle Times, without interruption, but The Seattle Times has its own set of problems and might be next to disappear. At least the Post-Intelligencer‘s 30-foot neon globe isn’t going away anytime soon.

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