We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Radical Teen Cheerleaders

by Rick Panna Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2004 at 6:24 PM

"We're teens, we're cute, we're radical to boot We're angry, we're tough, and we have had enough Are we straight? Are we queer? We're just tired of ignorant fear We're diverse and we're proud, no one's going to keep us down!" -- Radical Teen Cheer

The Radical Teen Che...
radteencheer.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x454

In the aftermath of the Republican victories of November 2, 2004, it is heartening to know about young activists like the Radical Teen Cheerleaders (RTC) of Franklin High. Many demonstrators in the Los Angeles area are familiar with them, as they have performed at major demonstrations, community peace vigils, and other events. The group, which now has 26 active members, formed in 2002.

"As far as we know, there are no other Radical Teen Cheerleaders," said RTC instigator Meredith Ryley, a history teacher at Franklin High. "There are radical cheerleaders who are adults. I read an article about them and gave them to some students, and then they wanted to start something." "I was really loud about my political views," recalled 16-year-old Cat Vega, an original RTC member. "Ms. Ryley approached me with an article about these girls in Minnesota, who are actually college age. She decided that it would be good for us high school students to get involved."

Nidia Escobado (age 18), also an original member, recalled the first RTC event, which was a demonstration against Disney's sweatshops. "We had our homemade t-shirts with Mickey Mouse with an anti sign around him, and we had our black pants and fish nets," she said. "It was in Hollywood at the big store they had right by the El Capitan. We kept telling people: 'Oh, don't buy from there. They have sweatshops.' It was really cool because we influenced a lot of people not to buy there. They were like: 'Yeah? I'm going to return this.' It was the coolest thing to go to our first [event] and see how people react."

"We had been practicing for a couple months, and it was just a scaggly crew," remembered Ryley. "We only had a few cheers [including] the sweatshop cheer. So we went to the demonstration, and afterwards there happened to be an anti-war rally on Hollywood and Highland. We walked over there, and a friend of mine cleared some space. There was just about six of them, and they only had a couple cheers related to war, and everybody just went crazy. They loved them immediately. That was the first time they got a big [reaction]. Like they say, they're 'teen,' and they're 'cute.' It kind of took off from there. And then Bush started talking about Iraq right after we had formed. We didn't form to do anti-war protests. The war happened, and then the rallies were huge. By that time, we managed to get t-shirts printed up. Kids kept bringing other kids who kept bringing other kids."

The group continues to draw new members. "I saw what they were doing, and I was pretty interested in it," said Desiree Garcia (age 16), who joined in the spring of 2004. "I thought, 'Maybe I should join and get my ideas out.'" Her ideas included "how the media changes what people say and make it into their own," the actions of George W. Bush, violence, and "kids today and what they do and what they think." Like many RTC members, Desiree has long been interested in politics. A stimulant for this interest was politically-oriented music, including that of Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys and TSOL. "My mom loves the idea of me being in here," she continued. "She's 100% behind me. She really thinks it's a good idea for teens to get involved with politics and what's going on in the world."

However, some parents have expressed concerns about the possibility of demonstration violence. The mother of Yesenia Avila (age 19) lived in El Salvador when citizens were killed for criticizing the government. Consequently, "she worries about me being in this because she thinks it's kind of like that," Yesenia said. "I always try to reassure her." Nidia's mother was also concerned. Nidia: "All you would see on the news [of the protests] was the bad stuff: 'so many people got arrested, so many people got trampled by the police.' [My mom] was like, 'No, you're not going anymore.' And one time I just took her with me. She saw what we were doing, and she was like, 'cool.'"

Some RTC members are involved in politics outside of the group. A few of them are vegetarians, several go to protests on their own, and one talked a fellow Franklin High student out of enlisting in the military. Also, "I do a lot of stuff with PETA," said Cat. "There [are] anti-KFC protests in Hollywood. They protest KFC's use of chemicals and antibiotics in chickens that deform them and make them crippled and how they chop their beaks off with hot irons. I could tell you so many gruesome stories and show you so many pictures of chickens in overcrowded places. Don't eat meat."

However, Ryley noted that not all RTC members are activists. "They're all individuals," she said. "They have different priorities; their beliefs aren't the same. Some of them are more 'radical' than others. I think most of them would better be described as liberal."

In early 2004, Larry Smith of Franklin High's ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) program told the Los Angeles Times: "Some of these [Radical Teen Cheer] kids could care less about the war. Kids are just looking for their identity, and somewhere along the line they may ask themselves, 'Why was I even involved in that?'"

"I think that people will say the same thing about ROTC," countered Cat. "I think lots of people are going to look back on themselves and be so ashamed that they actually did something in support of the military. They're going to open their minds later on, and they're going to say, 'God, that's so disgusting: I was supporting a war profiteer institution.'"

"When you're older, the war is going to be in the history books," commented Yesenia. "If [my] grandchildren say, 'What were you doing at that time?' I can tell them, 'I was protesting against the war.' I don't think I'll ever regret it." "If it's still going on, I would encourage my kids to do it," added Nidia.

As the Radical Teens say, "we're diverse and we're proud." However, "I think the outside world may percieve them as alike ghetto kids," said Ryley. "But they're all completely different. There's no one clique here. There are kids who never would have communicated with each other unless they all ended up in Radical Teen Cheer. They really are different types of kids. Social barriers are massive, and to see them break those barriers is pretty cool."

"It took on a life of its own that I had absolutely no idea would happen," she continued. "When they were just a scraggly bunch practicing, I remember saying, 'This may sound kind of strange, but I think you guys could catch on.' But I really had absolutely no conception of what would happen. Somebody's working on a two-hour documentary on them, plus there are the spots on MTV [Rock the Vote]." RTC was also the subject of a front-page story in the February 22, 2004 edition of the Los Angeles Times. Newseek has also featured them (see: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3068921/ ).

Note: Some of the ages given in this article may have changed.
Photos by Reuben A. Rivas http://la.indymedia.org/news/2003/02/29961.php

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Listen to Radical Teen Cheerleaders builder123 Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004 at 8:00 PM

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM



Paraphysique de proxémie guerrière J18 7:59AM


FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM



PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

December 2018 Honduras Coup Update J08 10:12PM

Paraphysique de la désespérance J07 9:38AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy