Grassroots Activism

The Kids Are Alright: Global Youth Connect
by Jay Blotcher

When the Bush regime's tenure has ended, the United States will likely address itself to the task of rebuilding its soured relations with other countries. (A survey of people in 15 countries conducted last spring by the Pew Research Center charted drops as low as 56 percent since 2000 in foreign approval of our government and its actions.) However, one international alliance of youth and human rights activists, based in Ulster County,[New York] has already begun a preemptive bid for mending fences with our world neighbors.

Global Youth Connect (GYC) resides in a factory building by the railroad tracks in Kingston. The organization, recently relocated from Woodstock, was formed in 1997 by international activists to train American youth in protecting human rights abroad, significantly in countries where US foreign policies have made a profound--if not always positive--impact on daily life. By 2001, GYC delegations of college-age students and young adults were traveling in three-week fact-finding missions to Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nepal, and Rwanda.

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