In a powerful and compelling speech, 16-year-old Jamie Flatters asks a potent question: What do us 16-year-olds have in common with Martin Luther King and Emmeline Pankhurst?


It is being silenced. Their voices were being silenced by those in power, as are ours. As the country goes to the polls today, we can only sit back and watch. Amid a flurry of excitement and drama, we can only observe.

Jamie makes a valuable point. When the boat sinks we will be the ones filling in the holes. But why aren’t we angry. Why aren’t we bothered?

He makes a rallying cry, do not just sit and watch the TV, when rejected. I am 16 years old and I agree. Instead of moaning, and relentlessly complaining. Do something about it.

The history makers of our time got out there, and spoke, shouting louder than their critics. The speech filled me with frustration. And that’s because I realised, we do have the power even if it is not obvious.

Tomorrow our friends will tweet, we will post on Facebook. But it means nothing, it’s worthless, especially when compared to the vote that those two years older than us have cast. And that’s why we need to channel the spirits of Pankhurst. We need to continue to shout, protest and make our voices heard. When someone shouts you down, simply shout louder.

History teaches us that when people want something, if they have passion behind their convictions then history rewards them.

However, before 16-year-olds are allowed to vote, there does need to be education. In schools and in public places people need to be dragged out from their comforting circles on social media, where they only see similar views, and confronted with the beauty of democracy — an assortment of opinions.

Jamie makes the rallying cry. He has the passion we need to share. If you share in the passion of Jamie then your voice will be heard and one day so will your vote.

Jamie’s speech is part of Figures of Speech by the Almeida Theatre — a major new digital film project interrogating the vitality of speech, rhetoric, and what visionary leadership sounds like.

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