Children will voice concerns at inaugural Young and Mighty March in Sunnyside

The youth of Western Queens are preparing to march through the streets of Sunnyside later this month and speak out on issues they care about.
By Bill Parry

Nearly 500 young people from Woodside and Sunnyside are expected to take part in the Young and Mighty March next weekend, just two weeks before the midterm elections.

The first-ever event, scheduled for Oct. 21, is being organized by PARADE, and new borough-based public art organization serving western Queens.

“We’ve never launched a march before but we’re aiming for 500 [people] and we’ve been doing workshops and outreach in Sunnyside and Woodside,” PARADE Co-founder Paddy Johnson said. “It is in these workshop where the kids are taking the lead to decide which of their concerns will be heard.”

The mission of the march is to offer kids of all ages a platform to express their concerns about political events, inspire civil engagement and draw attention to issues affecting youth. As the midterm elections approach, organizers want the kids to know that just because they can’t vote, doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice. This is their chance to be heard.

“Many talk about kindness, one child talked of replacing ammo in guns with candy, and another talked of the need for a female president and more female leadership in government,” Johnson said. “It takes a lot of courage to make art, to speak up, and to march in the streets for what you believe in. New York kids are some of the bravest and most inventive people we know, so we can’t wait to see what they do.”

Big Bird and Elmo will join the children’s march as it steps off from Lou Ladoti Park, located at 41-15 Skillman Ave. in Sunnyside. After a short rally featuring poet Laureate William Loheir, child star Ellis Rubin, youth activists, and artists, marchers will walk east on Skillman Avenue, loop around to 43rd Avenue at 48th Street and then head back to Lodati. The event is open to children of all ages with adult supervision.

“With The Young and Mighty March and workshops — which we hope will become an annual event for all young New Yorkers — we have an opportunity to start a conversation with the people whose lives will be most impacted by the decisions adults make today,” PARADE Co-founder Nancy Kleaver said.

To learn more about the march, contact Kleaver via email at nancy@paradenyc.com.

Organizers encourage the public to host their own poster-making parties in preparation for the event and will share lesson activities and resources on social media to support them.

The Young and Mighty March is meant to be a peaceful, positive, and creative project on highlighting the hopes and dreams of kids in western Queens. Messages of non-tolerance, bullying and electioneering will not be allowed.

”My first year of motherhood coincided with Trump’s first year in office, so as soon as my daughter was big enough I strapped her into the carrier and joined fellow New Yorkers at various marches,” Event Organizer and Filmmaker Kate Marks said.

“I found myself craving a space where kids could get the microphone. With the Young and Mighty March I wanted to show my daughter that kids can be powerful — that even in the shadows of a giant, the smallest voices can be heard.”

PARADE is working in partnership with Woodside on the Move and Sunnyside Community Services

Organizers are actively seeking volunteers, donations and local business sponsors.

For more information on how to get involved, visit www.parade.org.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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