Steve Marcus Lexie Villanda, of Spring Valley High School, takes part in a conversation during the 62nd annual Las Vegas Sun Youth Online Forum at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday Nov. 29, 2018. Over 1,000 juniors and seniors from 50 high schools participated in the event. The Clark County School District and Barrick Gold Corporation partnered with the Las Vegas Sun to place on the forum.
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opinion area I found the remedy to the continuous, unrelenting and continuing issue that has penetrated the body politic for the past 2 years.
You know what I am speaking about. It’s that feeling of despair that grips us as we think about where the United States is going offered the present political climate and the oft-repeated question: How do we get our country back and where are the leaders who will get us there?
That answer to our ills has been offered in Southern Nevada for 62 years. It is called the Las Vegas Sun Youth Online Forum.
When my daddy, Hank Greenspun, and his assistant Ruthe Deskin, together with Harvey Dondero from the Clark County School District, got together in 1956 to think about methods to ensure that the young people of that day would be listened to by the adult leaders of the community, it was the Sun Youth Online forum that came to life as a way to provide voice to those who might not be heard.
That year, simply short of 100 students from the handful of high schools in the county gathered together to discuss whatever was on their minds– and the Sun Youth Online forum was born.
It has actually been over six decades and the online forum is still going strong, with near 1,000 students and over 50 high schools represented. The Las Vegas Sun and CCSD are still partners together with our brand-new partner, Barrick Gold Corp., which joined us last year and with whose assistance we can do this for six more decades!
Back to the remedy for what ails us.
To an individual– the adult mediators from across the neighborhood, the school counselors and teachers who fill the spaces at the convention center to support their trainees, the business leaders who discover their way to the online forum to “see what’s going on” and those who make it all happen, like Brian Cram and Sheila Lee from the Sun and Sandy Ginger and Jody Plant from the School District– the sensation that Sun Youth Forum day is the very best day of the year is as real today as it was when this whole thing started.
These high school juniors and senior citizens eliminate any doubt that the neighborhood elders may have about this most recent generation of citizens and leaders. Our nation is not only in good hands, but they are the type of hands that are more thoughtful, more curious, more experienced and more understanding than any generation I have actually coped with and through in my lifetime.
And I ought to know because I have been participating in the Sun Youth Online forum for over five decades, so I have actually witnessed up close and personally the kind and quality of students who come through its doors.
It is not a stretch to think about the reality that most of the conversations and discussions these young people have with each other about gay rights, Yucca Mountain, the relationship in between Russia and America and the concern of weapon control, amongst numerous others, are on a level and at a depth far higher than I witness grownups having on an everyday basis.
That is why there are finalists from each group who will share their group’s opinions on television, radio and in this paper in the coming weeks. And more important, that is why the adults in this neighborhood– today’s leaders– need to take note of these students.
Not just do they represent tomorrow’s inheritors, but they also could be part of the biggest accomplice of American citizens in the 2020 elections. Those of us who participate in the Youth Online forum are fortunate to hear what is on the minds of our youths a couple of years prior to those ideas manifest at the surveys.
Trust me on this: These kids will enact numbers far greater than previous generations due to the fact that they comprehend what is at stake. The good news is that they are gotten ready for that obligation today.
The students at the Sun Youth Forum and others like them around the country are the medication for what ails us.
And it is simple to take. All we have to do is listen.
Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.