A team of Troy teenagers from Youth Media Sanctuary journeyed to Washington DC the weekend of April 11-13, 2014 to take part in the fourth annual “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
The “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival asks young people to speak out on the federal budget via short videos that answer the question “what would you do with $1 trillion—for yourself, your family, and your community.” The youth are asked to consider the $1 trillion spent yearly on the U.S. military; the more than $1 trillion spent on the wars abroad, and the $1 trillion plus in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The submissions come from Troy, Baltimore, Chicago, Greensboro NC, Los Angeles, New York, and other communities around the country. Created by a diverse group of creative high school and college students, the videos feature clever lyrics and thoughtful policy recommendations on issues such as immigration, climate change, cuts to food stamps, and foster care.
Young people are directly affected by conversations about state and federal budgets, yet their voices are often ignored. The film festival seeks to change that. Ultimately, AFSC wants America’s youth to think about their priorities, and then engage politically in order to bring about the changes they need and want.
The festival culminated April 12-14, 2014 in Washington DC, where AFSC held a youth leadership conference, and a free public screening.
The young people participated in a two day leadership training program at Sidwell Friends Academy in Washington DC. They then attended the world premiere screening of the Fourth Annual “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival at DC’s iconic Busboys & Poets, including dinner, an award ceremony and performances by participants in the festival. The following day they atteneded meetings at the office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Their visit concluded with a visit to Capitol Hill for a street action to mark the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending (www.demilitarize.org).
For updates, visit www.ihtd.org and follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter.