He had never lifted a protest sign before, but 15-year-old Kyle Maer felt a stirring of teen angst when the MTA decided earlier this month to ditch discounted MetroCards for roughly 525,000 students.
The Bronx High School of Science sophomore and a friend started a Facebook group opposing the cuts, which has ballooned to include more than 92,000 members. Maer also organized a protest outside of MTA headquarters that drew hundreds of angry students to one of the few citywide demonstrations organized by kids.
amNewYork talked to Tribeca teen about his new activism:
How did this come about?
I was watching it [the MTA meeting] on TV, and when it passed, I thought this was unbelievable. I wanted to help out and organize something. I didn’t think the MTA was willing to listen to kids unless they saw we cared.
How did the protest come together?
I started a Facebook event page and invited all my friends. A community organizer I know from Brooklyn talked to the police and got a permit. We told students to bring signs. I was shocked by the huge variety of signs. Everyone was out there expressing their opinions.
We’re aiming to attend the MTA’s borough-by-borough hearings. We’re going to try to get as many kids as we can to show up. People think we’re just kids, but this shows to everyone that we can be powerful.