Talking Politics at The Kids’ Table

We’ve all been there – sitting at “the kids’ table” at a family holiday. Being separated out from an “adult conversation.” Hearing that “you’re too young to understand.” Everyone’s heard it. Maybe you’ve said it.

At Rising Youth Theatre, we’re committed to prioritizing young people’s voices. Our current project, The Kids’ Table, considers what it means to separate young people out from “adult” conversations. Using the metaphor of a family dinner table, we imagine what would happen if The Kids Table became a place where young people led conversations all over the community about issues that matter to them.14702358_1459448820735208_2341224569304310504_n-1

For months, the presidential election has been at the top of everyone’s minds (and twitter feeds). Tensions are high and there’s a lot at stake. The message from all sides is clear – your vote matters.

But if you don’t have a vote (like the under 18 members of our ensemble), you still have a voice. Rising Youth Theatre asked youth all over the country to respond to a survey to tell us what matters to them this year, right at this moment, and how the election impacts those issues. Well over 500 young people responded, with more still coming in. We’re excited to share some of the results with you, and start a conversation from a youth perspective. If you’re under 18 and you’re reading this, jump in! Join the conversation, talk to us or to your peers or to some of the adults in your life. If you’re over 18, think about when the last time you asked a young person for their thoughts on some of these issues? What would it mean to really listen to them, and let their voice help inform your vote? If you want to see ALL of the survey responses (we couldn’t include everything here) you can view the full results here:

As one survey respondent told us: “This election is going to affect us a lot longer than it will affect you. This is our future you’re voting on. Choose wisely.”

Question 1:


Question 2:


Question 3:


Why is this issue important to you?

I care about this issue because I am LGBT+

I care about this because I come from a mom that is an immigrant and life is hard! She is not a person that comes here to destroy this beautiful land she is here to work and to give me and my sisters amazing a better future! Not all immigrants are criminals

The Syrian refugee crisis is a massive humanitarian crisis, and I think we have a responsibility to help as many refugees as we can. I want to know that our future President that views the Syrian refugee crisis as a legitimate human rights issue.

I attend school, a space which should be secure for learning and growth. I shouldn’t wonder every day if I’m going to have a bullet put through my head.

This issue affects everyone in the United States, especially schoolchildren and teachers. My mom and dad are both teachers and I and all of my friends attend school, so the danger of a shooting is always looming in the society we live in. It’s terrifying. Also, gun violence is a huge issue for POC, especially when it comes to racial profiling and the police. Gun violence is an issue that affect the United States as a country, and we need a president who will take action to save our country from such a horrible thing.

There’s such a gap between the amount of taxes placed on the 99% in contrast to the tax of the 1% and big corporations. This disappearing of the middle class is a direct result of unequal taxation.

I identify as gay and I want to make sure I am accepted in the future. Also I want to make sure that I am, along with my fellow LGBTQ+ people are safe and happy

Reproductive health and rights affect me a lot as a woman, and I want representatives in government that understand and respect my rights.

I don’t like paying so many taxes because the government wastes the money on stupid crap

Its important that people are welcome in this country no matter who they are or where they come from, but it is also important that nobody who enters the US is dangerous to anybody.

I’ve researched a lot about it and I think it’s a very big issue, especially for this country and its citizens. As less and less jobs are open, more people need to rely on minimum wage jobs in order to survive, and if people can’t survive off of it, then a very large amount of America will be in poverty

Because, I have not fully gotten through school yet, and I still have lots to learn. Other kids need education to learn about things and to get a job and grow up.

I care because I don’t know what will happen and more importantly I am not from here and have no papers and scared will be hard for us who aren’t American citizens

I believe immigration is important and should be an issue and topic more discussed on . Thousands of families are separated each day due to deportations.

I have family living in the U.S. that are immigrants. Don’t separate families.

My family are those in Mexico who would love to come over to visit us but can’t. Also many families are being destroyed. And education costs a lot of money debt shouldn’t be an option.

I care about this issue because I don’t think it’s fair for innocent people to get deported

I care because people shouldn’t be kicked out of the country because of their race

I care about this topic the most because my parents.

I care about this issue because I have friends that are immigrants

There is just to much gun violence happen and people aren’t really doing anything about it.

Because people are being killed by police and the good police are being killed by people who are angry at the bad ones

In my AP Seminar class, a group decided to create an argument against sexual violence on college campuses. I had always been angry because of sexual violence, but the assignment really gave me a new perspective.

I personally dislike the legalization of guns and how people are carelessly given them.

It’s 2016 and it’s disgusting men are still “above” women.

Because by the time I`m old enough to be grandmother I want there to still be plenty of resources and a healthy planet

I feel like everyone no matter what they are or who they are deserves to be paid equally. Not pertaining to the election but insurance prices should also be the same.

It’s difficult to pick one, but over all I care the most about equality for everyone and reform to prevent crimes toward specific people. Rape is a very important issue for me and as soon as any person, not just a candidate, commits this crime, I lose all respect for them.


i care about this issue because children’s life matters

I care about the issue because seemingly forever race has been an underlying factor for the the cause of deaths in America. I would love to see a change and an overall improvement in the way race relations are handled and violence because of race is stopped.

I’m worried about how much debt I will have and if I will have to change majors depending on costs

I believe that the safety of America should come first. I really think increasing border security and military funding is essential to our country at this time.

Because society and the government suck at equality.

Question 4:


Question 5:


Question 6:


Question 7:


How Does this Individual Reflect the Issues You Care Most About?

Hillary Clinton:

She’s experienced with making decisions that impact more than just her and those around her. She listens to the American people and what they really need from the government.

Well she is not kookoo like Trump. She is a good person and she cares about people. She cares about women and children and everyone.

She will hopefully raise minimum wage nationally as well as support reproductive rights

Hillary cares more about the well being of women and people than the other candidates do

She is a woman who has consideration for the people of our country and promotes strength, rather than Trump who promotes hatred and fear.

I would vote Hillary because she doesn’t stand for hate. I really liked Bernie, but voting for him is like a vote for Trump at this point. Hillary isn’t a perfect nominee but her politics are fairly similar to Obama’s and I liked him so.

She cares about everyone with or without documents.

I chose Hillary Clinton because she doesn’t care if people from Mexico come to the United States and she also doesn’t abuse the Mexicans like Donald Trump.

She does not promote violence. I am a pacifist, so this is very important to me. She also would be a good diplomat, which I believe our country needs. She holds the most liberal views, so as a democrat, she represents my opinions the best out of the options.

She isn’t racist and doesn’t make fun of people like Donald Trump.

I would vote for Hillary Clinton because she is against the wall. Also because she is a woman and she is the first woman to run for president.

Although she has made mistakes in the past, she still treats every human with respect, unlike some of the other candidates.

She fights for the people and supports free trade/immigration. Immigration has been shown to improve the economy and it is a good world policy. Even though I am not LGBT, I appreciate that they are gaining rights as they should be free to do what they want. I also care about strong relations with other governments and many outside of the U.S. Disagree with other candidates’ views.

Donald Trump:

I don’t like Trump, but I line up with the beliefs of the Republican party and his cabinet.

He’s not her

I don’t like him, but I hate the political system more, and he is the biggest disruptive force to that system

There is Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump left, the economy is failing but it will fall apart faster with Hillary Clinton, she is untrustworthy.

I think this person is the best person to fix the economy in our country

Trump is a very successful business man, I believe that he could be the president that would help turn around some of our economical instabilities

He really cares about border security and keeping us safe. Also, he isn’t under investigation by the FBI lol

Hate him as a person, but agree with his policies on term limits for senators and hoepfully he’ll reform the obamacare health system.

He is blunt and will help these issues out

He speaks of issues that I believe in and support and he supports them too. He wants to change the way America is, he wants to make america great again. Hillary Clinton will say anything and do nothing.

Gary Johnson / Jill Stein / Other:

Jill Stein: She’s a Green Party candidate. She would take care of our climate problems. However, she would never win, realistically, so I would probably vote for Hillary.

Jill Stein: I’m not sure, but I don’t support trump or hillary

Gary Johnson: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both evil and want to do bad things, and even thought Gary Johnson is barely shown on the media, he has some GREAT ideas if he gets elected.

Gary Johnson: Limit the power and size of government and allow people more freedoms

Bernie Sanders: I felt like he genuinely cared about this country and is able to change the country for the better.

Bernie Sanders: He supports gay rights, and cares about the young people of America

Bernie Sanders: Although he is no longer on the ballot, I would vote because I know he genuinely cares about the people of the USA. He would be willing to listen and do the best he can to help the majority of people. He also supports a lot of youth movements which is important because younger liberals are the ones who are going to be stepping up as leaders in the near future. Changes need to happen now in order to make sure our aging youth can grow up in an age of equal opportunities.

Evan McMullin: He is conservative and he has well laid plans to not only boost the economy but tackle the problem of climate change

Question 8:


Question 9:


I think adults should definitely take into consideration what young people have to say because we are the future generation. The choice they are making right now will affect us as adults. They should hear our concerns.

They should know our opinion on who we would vote for and how much we actually do care and keep up with the election.

This is our country too. We are the next generation. I care about my country and the people in it. I want the President to be not only educated, qualified, and capable, but also someone that I, and other young people, can look to as an example. And Hillary Clinton is that person.

Adults should recognize that young people understand far more than they think we do, and that even though we can’t directly vote in the election, our opinions are valid and should be taken into account.

they should just generally be open-minded about listening to young people discuss the election and their opinions on the candidates. adults shouldn’t be looking down on us just because we’re young. our future is put into the hands of someone without our control, and that shouldn’t mean that we can’t be heard and express our feelings about everything.

How did you let these candidates come to be our next leader of the United States?

Adults should know that any young person who cares about the election as much as I do would do anything to get a vote. I understand 18 is the voting age for many good reasons, but I want every eligible adult to make their voices heard for the ones who cannot. That means young people like me as well as people in this country like immigrants or those who have been unfairly prevented from voting.

Adults should hear that their decisions, especially in this election season, will impact younger generations much more than themselves. Their children and grandchildren will be forced to live with the repercussions of destructive and ignorant choices, so CHOOSE WISELY!!

The young people are going to be here a lot longer than the old people are, so the young people should also have a voice.

The effect the presidential and local elections have on young people’s futures. (I would rather not be in $80,000+ in debt because of student loans)

Adults should listen to young people about rights that really affect them. If they wanted to change schools in, say, Arizona they should ask the children (and teachers) in Arizona.

That we maybe young, but we have opinions as well. This is our future. This election will determine the lives of many children and teenagers. We cant have a voice because people think just cause we are young we don’t care or don’t understand. When we DO care and we DO understand! Young people have new ideas and we are tired of the same old thing, and we are tired of people who don’t listen to the new ideas we have to make this country amazing! These people who don’t listen are in the offices of our government right now! All we ask is for someone who will change this country and make it amazing and will bring new ideas in with them and not the old ideas from the past that don’t this day and age.


That if they have the chance to vote to vote cause this world can become a mess with Trump. I’m scared to loose my mom and not see her again i lost my dad and i dont want to loose my mother too!!!!!!

Please don’t screw this up… just like seriously… don’t… we’ve gotta keep using this planet after you’re gone

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