World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions

Article Id: WHEBN0030872955
Reproduction Date:

Title: Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ageism, Index of youth rights-related articles, Article 12 in Scotland, Human rights and youth sport, Youth rights
Collection: Ageism, Youth Rights Organizations Based in the United States, Youth-Led Organizations
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions

Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions
Abbreviation ASFAR
Motto Ability, not age
Formation 1997
Type Nonprofit corporation
Legal status 501(c)(3) public charity
Purpose Youth rights
Headquarters Chicago, IL, United States
Membership 1,600+
Secretary Susan Wishnetsky
Main organ Board of Directors
Budget Shoestring

Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions, also known as ASFAR Youth Liberation, is an organization dedicated to increasing the rights of youth under American law. The purpose of ASFAR is to "defend and advance the civil and human rights of young people through promoting the elimination and reform of laws that limit the freedom and self-determination of young people in the United States, and empowering young people to act on their own behalf in defense of their rights and freedoms." [1] ASFAR is associated with the youth rights movement, which advocates more freedom for young people and protection of their rights under law, in order to allow them the greatest degree of self-determination possible.


  • History and schism 1
  • Present status 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

History and schism

ASFAR, originally an email list organization, was founded in 1996 by Matt Walcoff and Matt Herman, two individuals who felt that age restrictions in the U.S. had gone too far. The small project grew into what could be called a legitimate organization. In 1999, ASFAR was incorporated in Missouri.

Within a year of its founding, ASFAR developed internal conflicts that would ultimately split the organization. Disputes over internal affairs and over the Declaration of Principles would lead to the creation of two factions. One group, which included the majority of the membership at that time, called for a detailed and radical declaration of principles and a high degree of membership involvement in the formation of policy. This faction took the name of the group literally and insisted the organization oppose all age restrictions as a matter of principle.

The other faction, led by Herman and Walcoff, called for a more traditional organization, led by a board of directors and with a smaller, more pragmatic set of policy positions. This latter group would leave to form the more visible and active National Youth Rights Association (NYRA).[2]

Present status

ASFAR opposes a wide variety of laws that limit the freedom of young people, such as voting age limits, curfew laws, compulsory education, child labor laws, age of consent laws, minimum drinking ages, and minimum ages for firearm possession. They support a non-age-based alternative to every age-based law, and believe that the rights of all people to freedom and self-determination outweigh the cost of implementing non-age-based laws.

The animosity that led to the schism with NYRA has largely subsided, and ASFAR enjoys amicable and cordial relations with NYRA. While neither organization has gone on record as supporting formal reunification, neither organization has formally renounced the prospect.[2]

ASFAR published an internet zine, Youth Truth, that was nominated for the Utne Alternative Press Award for "General Excellence -- Zine" in 2006. Youth Truth was suspended in 2007 by order of its Board of Directors. In the January 2010 board meeting, the Board of Directors appointed Susan Wishnetsky to restart the zine. Meanwhile, ASFAR's opposition to the age of consent continues to attract members to ASFAR, as NYRA objects to taking a position on the issue.[3] ASFAR is currently in the process of forming new positions on the age of consent, students' rights, the drinking age, and the treatment of young people by the media.


  1. ^ ASFAR Articles of Incorporation
  2. ^ a b ASFAR-NYRA Schism - Youth Rights Network
  3. ^ NYRA chapter handbook; see note in right-hand column of page 4

External links

  • ASFAR web site
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.