As a young person, I know about the power we hold, the power we are told we are too young for. As a disabled young person, I know about the power we hold, the power we are denied the opportunity to use. And as a human, I know that the power we hold is what gives us hope, and no matter what the future looks like, hope will be a part of it.
I was recently tasked with finding out the opinions, thoughts and feelings on SEND from the young people of local secondary schools. We talked about media representation, language, inclusion and what it’s actually like to be disabled. All students were compassionate, understanding and ready to learn more about something many schools fail to address. What I really took away from the day is when schools sit by, not bothering to educate their children about inclusion and SEND, the young people take it upon themselves. Many turned up to the conversation brimming with knowledge already, others eager to ask questions so they could understand more. They cared about things which may never affect their
lives and proved to me that when we give them the power they deserve, we get the hope we need.
And if everyone wants to keep that hope alive, they have to keep listening. Keep asking and responding, fixing and revisiting. Keep the conversations with young people about the issues that affect us: open, understanding and with young people ourselves at the heart. When empowered, we are given the opportunity to become the leaders of today, and the hope that we can be the leaders of tomorrow. And it’s time the world acknowledged that.
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