The New York Civil Liberties Union’s Teen Activist Project (TAP) today unveiled a pair of creative projects that raise awareness about civil liberties issues that New York City students confront every day at school: a video on the rights of LGBTQ students and a photo essay documenting the overly aggressive policing in city schools. “Our teen activists have provided a unique and compelling voice to two crucial civil liberties issues facing city students, and they’ve done so with style and substance,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “Their outstanding work empowers young people to stand up for their rights and fight for safe, nurturing schools where everyone’s dignity is respected.” TAP is youth program that engages New York City teens as organizers and peer educators on civil rights and civil liberties. The group of high school students from all five boroughs meets weekly at the NYCLU’s offices to learn about and discuss civil liberties and legal issues, reproductive justice, public speaking and activism. The students use that knowledge to educate their peers on a range of issues, including free speech and religion, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, students’ rights and the rights of pregnant and parenting teens. Each year TAP members complete an advocacy project concerning a civil liberties issue of their choice. This year, TAP members tackled two important issues through a video and a photo essay. The Video The 98-second video is a fast-paced, catchy public service announcement that informs lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students about their rights at school, including the right to bring a same-sex partner to the prom, the right to wear close that do not conform to gender stereotypes, and access LGBTQ-related information on school computers. It also encourages students to take action to support their rights, such as starting a gay-straight alliance at their school.
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