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Stand Up, Speak Out & Act, the document for the participation of children and young people in the Marist mission

The document Stand Up, Speak Out & Act is now a reality. Presented on Wednesday 20 March, it was born with the aim of inspiring and nourishing Marist communities.

The presentation, led by the directors of the Bureau of Education and Evangelisation, Brother José Sánchez and Brother Niño Pizarro, began with a message from Brother Ernesto Sánchez, Superior General.

“The last General Chapters have invited us to connect ever better with children and young people. To promote more listening and accompaniment and we have to do this as the Marist family that we are”, emphasised Brother Ernesto who also explained that a consultation process was carried out involving 10,000 children and young people from all the continents.

Brother Luis Carlos, Vicar General, then explained that “this document is from the house and has prepared us to respond to a perspective that the Institute is living”. In addition, he posed the following question to all those present: What kind of people are we forming and how do we make it a reality from the beginning of the educational or social processes and missions? How can we do this in order to respond critically to a global and conflicted world?

“All children, especially those who have less access, have the right to participate in a quality education and to participate in a global world”, emphasised Brother Luis Carlos, who also added that “they do not have to wait until they are adults to bring solutions to their communities, to create ideal scenarios (…) We make a statement for the rights of children, wherever we are, particularly in situations of inequality or poverty. We know that this construction of rights is never complete and that everyone has to take up the challenges and demands that help and empower children’s rights.

Therefore, the guide connects us to the idea of empowerment of children and young people where giving them a voice means offering them the possibility of implementing a real change in attitudes and thoughts.

Brother Ben, General Councillor, explained the meaning of the document in the context of the Marist mission: “Stand up: give voice to those who have no voice. Speak out: to urge children and young people to empower their voice, to speak out against injustices. Act: it means taking concrete action to end social problems”.

He also noted that the document resonates by “navigating the complex political and social actions that are taking place” and encourages the Marist community to guide young people “to become agents of change”.

Br Niño highlighted the places where the guide can serve as a guide for creating Marist communities, such as assemblies, presentations, forums, seminars or formation programmes, among others. Along these lines, he posed a question to all those present: How can they use the document in their respective areas?

Finally, Br. José closed the presentation with a word of thanks and highlighted one of the paragraphs of the document:

“It is foolish to believe that 16, 18 or 20 year olds suddenly become responsible and committed citizens if they have had no prior experience of developing democratic skills and values. For these competencies to be effectively developed requires a gradual and progressive progression from early childhood. This is achieved by involving children, adolescents and young people in all areas of public and private life: at home, at school and in the wider spaces of socialisation”.

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