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What is Hands Up For…?

Hands Up For… began as the Hands Up For peace campaign (archived here) in February 2003. It was launched as an attempt by a group of young people to get our voices heard about an issue over which we felt strongly – war – through a huge display of hands that contained both artistic and textual arguments for peace from young people around the world.

With the ending of action in Iraq, we were faced with a choice between ending the movement or finding a new direction to move in, and we realised that we could not let this opportunity slip away from all the young people who worked so hard – both in co-ordinating the campaign and creating hands for the final protest – to get their voices heard. We recognized that we hadn’t been fighting against action in Iraq, but against the failures of democracy and the indifference of our government to the views of its people.

Therefore, we have re-launched HUFP as ‘Hands Up For…’, which has enabled us to move from a specific campaign to an ongoing attempt to encourage young people to engage with and act on political issues which affect them, to educate the voters of tomorrow through debates on the issues of today, and to provide a voice for those of us who are not often represented either in politics or the media.

This website contains the thoughts of a variety of young people on issues which matter to them.  These may not be ‘young peoples issues’ as these are perceived by much of society, but include both national and world affairs which impact not only on children and young people around the globe, or on the world which we will, one day, inherit. These issues affect the world we live in today, and therefore it is today that we need to be accountable to and heard by the governments who shape our lives.

Hands Up For… works in three ways. Firstly, by helping journalists and policy makers to get in touch with groups of young people, we hope that they will become increasingly represented in society and will gain a sense of ownership over the societies in which they grow up. Secondly, we offer assistance to young people in creating protest groups and events around local and national issues under the banner of the ‘Hands Up For…’ organisation. Thirdly, we have developed an ‘alternative citizenship’ workshop  aimed at encouraging political participation among young people, which is unique as it is both developed and presented by individuals under 24 – meaning that we can relate to those in the workshop in a far more meaningful way.

If you are a young person and would like to become involved in the website debates or would like help, advice or useful contacts for any issue about which you would like to take action, please email us. If you are a journalist or other professional who would like to gain a new perspective in to current events, either email or call us and we will be happy to help. If you are a student or teacher who would like information about the alternative citizenship workshop please check the website or email.

Hands Up For… the right to a voice.