Teens speaking out at several metro eventsby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Events around the Twin Cities this weekend aimed to motivate teenagers to address larger societal issues.
At the state Capitol, teenagers participated in the Asian Pacific Youth Council's second annual policy conference, where young people discussed issues like educational disparities with state legislators.
Tenzin Paljor, 18 of Edina High School led a group of students lobbying to fund shelters for victims of human trafficking.
Paljor said students have a responsibility to stand up for the many Asian men and women who are forced into prostitution.
"Some people like us, we have opportunities in life where we can do whatever we want and have freedoms," Paljor said, "but some people don't have that and know what it's like. So we want people to be just free like us."
Teenagers should serve as resources for other people in their community, said Starr Gowing, who led students in a discussion about protecting human rights.
"A lot of times they say minorities are less educated, and we just want to make sure that everybody's getting the right amount of information," Gowing said. "Because a lot of people, they don't know where to go, and we just want to make sure that we're here for you."
Teenage leaders also encouraged their peers to tackle issues of dating violence on Saturday at a conference at the Mall of America hosted by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women.
And on Monday, students plan to return to the state Capitol to discuss bullying at an event organized by the Minnesota Safe Schools for All Coalition.