Young people have always played a role in AID. From the time of the Austin conference of 2004, where months-old babies Arjun and Khiyali attended their first conference, and every year since, there have been children of various ages at AID conferences, growing together and looking forward to meeting every year.
When the AID conference returned to Austin in 2015, some of us decided to start with a day dedicated to youth activities, on the Friday before the conference. In sessions planned especially for kids, they would hear stories from the social movements, learn songs, games and make things that would be useful in conveying the message of AID.
With that in mind, on Friday, May 22 2015, we met in the home of our gracious hostess, Sailaja Chadaram, whose kids and their friends joined the fun as well. We played Play for Peace games, made posters for the Jivika fair-trade shop, and learned about the struggles people have been waging for equality and dignity. One of the conference keynote speakers, Mr. P.S. Ajay Kumar came to the youth conference and taught the kids two songs that he had written, one about the struggles of the fish workers and forest-dwellers and another about Ambedkar and the movement for Dalit rights.
Note – Well before Austin, in the Cincinnati conference of 1999, Gautam and Urvi from Charlotte attended with their infant daughter Aashna in tow.