“The temptation to silence young people has always existed. There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible… There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive. Dear young people, you have it in you to shout. It is up to you not to keep quiet.”
– Pope Francis, St. Peter’s Square, Sunday Address, March 25, 2018
Up with People was born in the midst of the 1960’s, a time of turbulence and division when young people were raising their voices for social change. Many adults were trying to silence young people. Blanton Belk and those who worked with him asked the simple question of that generation, “What do you want to say…and what do you want to do?” Their response “we want to build a world of equality, unity and peace”, and that launched the global wave that would become Up with People.
Today we are again a divided world and again youth are finding their voices to advocate to end violence, to have more compassion for those in need, to respect those who look or live differently and to believe that we can find common ground for a more hopeful and peaceful future. And today the young adults in Up with People are raising their collective voice in song with the plea that we can, and we will, overcome our divisions to Keep Hope Alive.
We join Pope Francis in saluting this generation of young people for their ideas and commitment and urging them to make their voices heard.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Hansen, 2017)