A friend just said to me, “Clearly we were born 20 years too late. My father died believing a better world was possible; we’re seeing that it might have been, but no longer is.”
He’s a pessimist, but he and I are old. Younger people have a longer and bleaker-looking future ahead, but also more time to get out there and make things better. Yet they often have little to no voice in the making of major decisions.
The International Congress of Youth Voices, founded by the author Dave Eggers and nonprofit leader Amanda Uhle, is working to change that. This week, Heated is featuring work by some of the delegates, all of whom are between 16 and 24 years old, and who come from all over the world. Their writing speaks to food and social justice, agriculture, politics, family — and eating.
In its second year, The International Congress of Youth Voices is made up of nearly 130 delegates — who are nominated to learn with and from one another, accomplished writers, activists, and elected officials — based on their commitment to leadership and social justice. This year’s summit is in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from August 7 to 11.
“In my experience, there are two things that get young writers inspired quicker than anything else,” Eggers said. “First is the prompt changing of the world, bending it toward justice. The other is food. Young writers write passionately and beautifully about food, and here is your proof.”
I urge you to read the stories below to hear what some of them have to say.
‘The More I Learned About GMOs, the More I Felt Betrayed’
A Love Letter to Burundi
Friday Nights in Colombia Mean One Thing: Salchipapas
‘It’s on Me to Recreate the Feeling of Home’
For the First Tamales Without Abuelita, We Were Missing More Than the Salt
Hurricane Maria Lingers at Puerto Rico’s Dinner Tables
Recipes of Passage From My Family’s New Orleans Kitchen
Protestor By Day, Baker By Night
Talk To Me, Goose!
Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.