NEWS
What a Liberty!: Raising our voice to call for change

Diana Reyes Rafael, a member of the What a Liberty! project to reimagine the Magna Carta for the 21st century, writes about her experience at the public launch of the campaign to empower young people

13 Jul 2016
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

thank you lincoln

Diana Reyes Rafael is a member of the What a Liberty! project.

On 6 July, the What a Liberty! team made its voice heard publicly for the first time with the official launch of Magna Carta 2.0 in Lincoln. We put ourselves in front of ordinary people in order to inspire and engage.

We found the strength and encouragement to stand up and tell society what we have to say. Although many of us may not be old enough to vote, we are not going to stand by while democracy – a principle our ancestors fought for – is taken away.

Why did we choose Lincoln? Because Lincoln is the spiritual home of this project. We first went there to learn about the Magna Carta, its importance and its impact. We must look at the past so we can understand the present and Lincoln is the place where our inspiration lies. It is the link between the Magna Carta and our Magna Carta 2.0. In 2016, however, it was us taking the lead.

During our first presentation, we were quite calm because it was an informal chat with 11-year-old school children. What fascinated me most was hearing their concerns and the actions they wanted to take to achieve their goal. For instance, they want a mixed football team of boys and girls at their school and new tactics to combat bullying. That made us realise that even younger children have something to say.

During our second presentation we spoke to people of all ages and helped them realise that although young people are portrayed in society as ignorant, there are many passionate voices among us who want to make a change.

Overall, the day was awe-inspiring. We learned that all it takes to stand up and speak in front of people is passion. When I gave my presentation I did not have a prepared speech because I wanted to be spontaneous and sincere. I also wanted to inspire because What A Liberty! is all about the incentive you need to create change. What did I receive in exchange? A round of applause and words of recognition.

To any young people looking to have their voices heard, I would say: “Anyone can be good at it, you just have to believe in yourself and find what you are passionate about.”

At the end of the day, we are all humans and sometimes we may think there is nothing to aim for. But when we take the time to look around we often find someone or something to inspires us.

What a Liberty! brings together 18 young people from all across London.

The members are:

  • Passionate about making a change and letting other young people know that they have a voice and can use it.
  • Sparking conversations about justice, equality and freedom and providing a platform for different opinions and views.
  • Inspired by the 800th anniversary of the original Magna Carta -we’re making our own charter for the 21st century –  the Magna Carta 2.0.
  • Open to suggestions on ways we can take the Magna Carta 2.0 to a wider audience – so get involved and make sure your voice is heard here!

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