Dear Society.

My name is Charli and I am 14. I am a white, cissexual girl and I have never had the experience of racism upon myself. I have seen it occur, repetitively, and I have been the victim of sexism. I have seen my friends slandered for being a sexuality other than heterosexual.

Our generation, bright and beautiful, so full of hope, have been bought up by racists. By homophobes. By sexists. Our parents and teachers tell us that we are becoming a more tolerant society; but this is so untrue. 

All I see before my eyes is an increasingly dystopian society, where I am scared for my black friends, my best friend and her girlfriend. I am sick of hearing “I can’t wear that, I’ll get raped” coming from the other side of a changing room. 

Throughout my life, I have been passionate about making the change. About making people understand, about making sure everyone can live their life without constant fear. And maybe in Britain my black friends won’t get shot; but they are constantly insulted. And maybe gay marriage is legal in Britain; but it doesn’t mean everyone’s okay with it. 

In the last two days, my Tumblr blog went from “let’s all squeal about people on youtube” to all about Ferguson. I have not seized in reblogging everything I can; signing petitions and trying to explain it all to people who don’t understand. 

They fleetingly mentioned Ferguson on the radio this morning. No passion; an extremely small amount of context. My stepnan said it was a good thing the police were trying to stop the riots; that Mike Brown was rightly shot. She wouldn’t hear me out. She wouldn’t take it that they were shooting the protestors, she wouldn’t listen to what happened. 

You can tell me that it’s “not about race” as much as you want to, but I will never believe you.
We need to stop saying “but not all white people are bad”. That’s true; but irrelevant. This isn’t about proving that a few of us are good. This is about justice, about a man who brutally murdered a man and has not received a sentence. 

There are protests in so many parts of the world right now; for so many varying reasons. Our society may be trying to turn itself around, but it is to no avail. There are too many people covering it up.
The British media isn’t covering it as much as it should. If a black man had murdered a white man, it would be everywhere. It would be considered racism in itself; they would be called violent and disgraceful. 

Something else that I heard on the radio yesterday was new policies for “girl empowerment”. I instantly thought it would be good news; but all I heard was a new teaching method of teaching our girls rape culture. Society, I plead. Stop teaching “Don’t Get Raped” and start teaching “Don’t Rape.” Stop the victim blaming; stop acting as if it’s a small matter. 

Yesterday I walked out of the house having lost my faith in my society; my future. Today, I am empowered once more. I want to be one of those who make the change. Our generation will be different. It will.


Follow Up to "An Open Letter to Mr Gove"

Since my letter to Mr. Gove went live, several things have happened.

Over 40 thousand people have read it, because of it being posted on the Huffington Post here. 
From this, I have had around a 100 people tweet me with such lovely comments and gained 200 followers.

It's been amazing. And I can't thank you all enough.

However, there has been the negative side of it, too.

Mr. Gove posted this article on The Telegraph. So a few people have been all like "oh take it down it's not true". Personally, I find it odd that it was posted after all the outrage, in another newspaper to the original article.

A lot of people are saying that I said he was going to ban TKAMB and OMAM. I never said that; because that wasn't what was going to happen. I said he was going to take them out of the GCSE curriculum, because that is what he said was going to happen.

On being thirteen

I'm a truthful person. I am 13 years old. I have had a lot of comments that say it has been a parent, or anyone, just not a 13 year old. Well, I am. I'm sorry to ruin these illusions, but I am.
     At this very moment, depending on when you read this, I am either at school, listening to music on my bed, reading, doing homework, at Scouts, or doing various other activities that I do.

I know it's hard to believe. Okay, I'm articulate. When I wrote the letter... it didn't come across as that articulate or eloquent to me. It was just me. But okay, yes, I am rather eloquent. Is that the reason it is hard to believe I am 13? I have had a passion for reading and writing since the age of 2 or 3 years of age, and I read about 100 books a year; my vocabularly is large. I go to a grammar school; I took a test to get there, and I was classed as gifted and talented at literacy long ago.

I'm also a debater. I am part of my school debating club and was in a competition with Sixth Formers, as the youngest in the competition, last November. We didn't place; but it was an achievement to be there, for me.

I won't lie. I am 13. And although I do find it a bit funny, and a bit of a compliment, that people don't believe I am 13, I'm too eloquent... eventually it hurts. It does! I wrote this! And I'm not vain, but I'm proud of the piece that I wrote. 

"Huffington Post" comment responses

 "If Charli, aged 13, is real; then Mr. Gove will hold no fears for this articulate young person. She obviously comes from well educated parents; pushing her cause for a future...But I would say you raise many questions...What is your concern; bearing in mind you maybe reading far more than your peer group... I find it strange that a 13 year old should worry about reception classes and what they are taught? Excuse me if I have misread your post; but in my day we did not acknowledge the ones younger than us at all. Question; would I be incorrect in assuming your parents are teachers? One statement before finishing; Mr. Gove is not out to harm the ones achieving, but to push the teachers to better standards..." 

Thank you for your kind comments and questions. My parents are split, though my mum is extremely well educated. My concern? I want everyone to read; to enjoy English; to want to achieve in English. I don't care if I can go to any library and pick out those books; I have the initiative, though many don't. I worry about reception classes because I have siblings, and my friends have siblings, and generally, I believe the reception classes need to be taught culture. Within this letter, it is just an example; I wouldn't suppose Gove would go that far.

Neither my mum, dad or stepfather work in teaching. My mum works in birth and helping women; my father in retail, and my stepfather is a landscaper. Law and politics have been MY passion, since I was 10, particularly in the last year and a half. Reading and writing was just encouraged by my mum.

I don't think Gove is trying to "push the teachers". Taking out books they have been teaching for years and probably know back to front, studied themselves, etc, will only harm their standards.

" Can't anybody see it! The only way for the Conservatives to retake control after last week's shenanigans is to get Michael Gove to say something stupid. Any publicity is good publicity."

This is very possibly true. That doesn't mean I can't be angry though; does it?

"The correct headline should be a 13 year olds dad wrote a letter.Stienbeck ,salinger etc are not necessary you can read tortilla flats etc in your spare time whether you are examined on Jane Austen or mark Twain is irrelevent the fact is the breadth in English lit alone is staggering and these are your heritage" 

That isn't the correct headline because I am 13. I understand I can read them in my own time; but I want to study them. I want to learn, understand their meanings, and what they teach. Also; I wonder why you say "13 year olds dad". Why couldn't it have been a 13 year old's mum? And please, sort out your capital letters.

Many have said it is no longer true. 

At the time I wrote it, it was. I will not be taking it down. At the time, it was true. It could still go ahead. We don't know. It is Mr. Gove, after all.  

I cannot reply to all the comments and tweets I have received, though these responses cover what people wanted to know. I desperately want to respond to the lovely, supportive comments and tweets, but I just don't have that type of time. 

To wrap it up. 

I just want to thank everyone again for the support I have received. It's been amazing and if I could respond to you all I would. 


An Open Letter to Mr. Gove

Today, some of you may have heard of Mr. Gove's changes to the English GCSE and A-Level curriculum. Now, I am going to write an open letter to Sir, keeping it as polite as humanly possibly, because I have had enough. 

Dear Mr. Gove,

My name is Charli and I am 13 years old. I have been blogging about politics and law for nearly a year, particularly in the Save UK Justice campaign, against your good friend Mr. Grayling. I woke up this morning to an uproar about your changes to the English Curriculum.

Personally, I am disgusted about your new curriculum changes. I can imagine that there has been no democracy to this decision. Why should To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most influential texts in the world, and Of Mice and Men, be removed from our curriculum?

In September, I will be in Year 9. That means I won't be starting my actual GCSE course, but in preparation to do so. I am an aspiring lawyer, and so both English Literature and English Language A-Levels were a possibility to me. Now, I am not so sure.

English has always been a passion to me. I have adored both reading and writing since the age of two. And now? Now, you are out to destroy that passion, of thousands. Yes, there are a lot of teenagers that don't give one about English, or their education, but some of us do.

I, as much as you, believe Shakespeare and Dickens should be studied. But I, apparently unlike you, believe other texts should be studied too. 

"The Sunday Times" Article today,
which has blown up on Twitter. 

 I want to draw attention to a certain part of this article (right). " 'Of Mice and Men, which Gove really dislikes, will not be included.' ". 

From the article, this is the phrase that may have shocked me the most. You "really dislike" it? I'm sorry, Sir, but you cannot just go around removing things from a curriculum just because you don't like it. If I was education minister and this was how you go about things, I'd be removing maths and science. But that isn't how it works, I'm afraid. 

Another thing I'd like to pick up on is the fact that this "new and improved" curriculum only includes English authors. Not even Irish! The Government want us all to be more tolerant about other races, and then increases the fact that many children are not educated on other cultures. Personally, I grew up on books like Handa's Surprise and many others, and I love reading other books, and books from America. Are you going to change the fact that reception children read Handa's Surprise and do work on it? I can imagine it now.

As a Government, in this one decision, you are turning around all the things you want. You want us to be more tolerant as a society, and what was that other thing? Oh yes... Better results in English. I don't think boring us to absolute tears is the way to do this.

The Colour Purple, which wasn't on the curriculum but deserves a mention, is one of my favourites. I have previously attempted To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men. I didn't understand them then, but I guarantee over my summer holiday this year they will be on my (extremely tall) reading pile, studied and written about in depth by me. Why? Because I want to learn. I want to learn about what these books have to give. About our society. 

Today, #tokillamockingbird, #Gove and Of Mice and Men are all trending topics. #Govekillsmockingbird is also high up. People do care. This will not go unnoticed, Sir. 

I could go on for hours, also talking about your changes in general GCSE's and summer holidays, but I won't, right now. All I will say, is I would watch your back. And your post box.

I don't suppose you will ever read this, but if you do, thank you very much.

Charli, age 13,
Justice campaigner who is very concerned for her education and future,
Lover of English


"I'm Only 12... Why Should I Know What's Going On?"

This post has been sparked by my history lessons at the moment. We're doing voting, and people who have died for the vote and for change. 

So, we were doing why people don't vote. Here were some top reasons: 
  •  Laziness
  • Can't be bothered
  • Don't understand politics
  • Doesn't care
  • One vote won't matter
  • How the heck will it affect me
  • All the parties are liars
  • The weather (I found this one somewhat hilarious)
SO. Those were just a few that were bought up. We then went on to write a speech about why we should vote. 

But what actually inspired this particular post was a conversation with my friend after the lesson (walking to the bus stop, if you're interested)

  • Her: I don't think I'll bother. And this stuff bores me in the lesson. I'm 12. It doesn't affect me yet. 
  • Me: It will... Our generation's justice is on the line and we already have a messed up economy [Explains economy and recession]
  • Her: But still. I don't care YET. I shouldn't, anyway, I'm just a kid. 
  • Me: Well, maybe not, but you need to know or you won't know when we're older, we only have 5 or 6 years before we're in that position. 
  • Her: But what does one vote count? 
  • Me: Every vote counts. If every person who said that voted, there would be so many more votes, so it does count. 
And then we went on to listen to music, because, yeah. I don't talk about politics all the time. 

Anyway. I digress. 

But I think that maybe, just maybe, we need to be educated some more on topics like this. But every vote does count, and my generation should know what's going on economically and politically. Legal Aid is involved with politics, on a general level, and we're going to be really affected by it. If you refer back to my post here about the amount of young people wanting to go into law, it goes to show how many are naive to what is happening but yet want to have a profession in such a passionate topic. 

So what? 

I'm passionate about law, about politics. I think all the women and men who have died for us to have justice, the vote, everything, should be honoured and everyone should vote, should have that justice, and it shouldn't be taken away! My generations and many generations to come need to learn on a more psychological level, as opposed to just historical, about what's happening, voting and Legal Aid.