Tom Morello supports the YLC!

November 12, 2010 in Featured

Dundee-Crown activists get kudos from rock star

By Larissa Chinwah, Daily Herald

The Youth Labor Committee at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville may be a new group with lofty goals, but the young politicos already have the support of one of rock music’s most prolific activists.

About 35 students sat in on a video conference call with, Tom Morello, lead guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, on Thursday to discuss labor issues both local and international and to pick the musician’s brain on how to be effective activists.

Morello, who spoke to the students from Los Angeles, gave the students and their social studies teacher Bruce Taylor, props for taking a stand. Morello said throughout history from desegregation in the South to women winning the right to vote young people have taken the lead.

“It’s people like you, kids like you, who have had their hands on the wheel of history,” said Morello, who grew up in Libertyville. “And whenever there has been great progressive, radical or revolutionary change in our country or in our world, it has been participated in and often led by people your age or not much older.”

In addition to supporting numerous activist groups, Morello co-founded Axis of Justice a nonprofit organization that aims to bring together grass-roots political organizations, musicians and fans to fight for social justice.

The Dundee-Crown Youth Labor Committee is an offshoot of the National Labor Committee, an advocacy group that focuses on the promotion and defense of worker rights.

Taylor said the goal of the group, which is about 10 weeks old, is to push organizations to stop the support of sweatshops and child labor in foreign countries.

“The way we want to pressure them is to say, ‘Look, it is not OK to raise the minimum wage in Bangladesh and then move to El Salvador,’” Taylor said. “We want to be there every step of the way.”

Dundee-Crown senior Will Goldberg said talking to Morello solidified his convictions.

“He’s not just an entertainer, he is also an inspiration,” Goldberg said. “Before we knew what we wanted to do, we didn’t know we could talk to people. It didn’t feel like we had the support base. Now we feel like we can do something and that means a lot.”

The interview was part of Dundee-Crown’s speaker series that has featured renowned thinkers like historian Howard Zinn and philosopher Peter Singer. The program, which is open to public, continues Friday with a discussion with linguist Noam Chomsky. The session begins at 3 p.m. in the high school’s band room.