hershey protestKids protest Hershey’s use of child labor to make their chocolate products. PHOTO: Octavia Davis

By MOKGWETZI SIZWE CHAPMAN, age 14

Can’t vote? There are other ways kids can let their voices be heard and fight for their needs.

1. Boycott

A boycott is when many people decide to not buy something or to not participate in something so that a change can be made. For example, in 2010 Arizona passed an anti-immigration law that would arrest any non-citizen, mostly Latino, who was not carrying identification papers. More than quarter of Major League Baseball players are Latino and when the All-Star game was held in Arizona, people boycotted by not watching it.

2. Rally or demonstration

A rally gathers around speakers to talk about an issue. A demonstration expresses people’s opposition to an injustice by protesting in the streets, marching or sitting down in a space, refusing to move. For example, when kids learned that Hershey’s Chocolate used child labor to make their goods, kids protested on the streets to raise awareness of Hershey’s poor working conditions.

3. Know your elected officials

Even if some of you might not be of age to vote, you can start preparing by learning the different public office positions and the people who are serving in them now. For example, find out about local issues and explore what elected officials are doing to address them.

4. Hold your own debates

It doesn’t have to be a huge debate club. It could be just you and a couple of friends or you could be hanging out and you just bring it up. Everybody enjoys a friendly debate. It gets the blood pumping!

5. Petition

Sign a petition for better produce in your local grocery store, write the Mayor of your city, or if you feel the need to do so sign a petition at your school. Just be creative!