No age is too early to start voicing one’s opinion on political matters. Many people throw around the opinions of key voting blocs such as Baby Boomers or Millenials. However, there is one group that is often neglected by politicians and political scientists alike that shouldn’t be forgotten: Generation Z.
According to an article from the Hill, Generation Z (or Gen Z) is the section of people born between the years of 1995 and 2010. The oldest of Gen Z is 23, which makes them of voting age in the United States. Studies conducted have shown that American members of Generation Z are poised to overtake all other voting blocks with voting and activism. We see many examples of how today’s youth are taking their power and their voice into their own hands. Take the aftermath of the Parkland Shooting, where students organized a walk-out to protest gun violence. That single act sparked a nation-wide ripple effect with schools across the country establishing their own walk-outs. There are numerous examples of students starting non-profit organizations to support social justice movements. An article from PR Newswire in April of 2018 showed that “Involvement and voter registration responses are high, indicating this generation is poised to make an impact on the political process”. Additionally, political activism is a staple of Generation Z’s influence and will be their greatest asset in establishing them as a political force to be reckoned with.
My whole life revolves around politics. At the age of 17, I have completed 4 years of speech and debate, have decided on double majoring in political science and international relations in college and someday, plan to run for public office. I currently an intern for state senator’s office since politics is my passion. Every night I watch the news and think about how I can change the world and I volunteer my time or donate money to causes that matter to me. When my school hosted a walk-out for gun violence, I made posters for all my friends and I walked out with a defiant smirk despite the threat of a cut for “ditching class”. At first, being politically vocal and active can be nerve-wracking, but it has reached a point where, for many situations, silence is not an option.
For those reading who want to become more politically active, whether you are new to the process or more experienced, here is my advice:
-Register to vote. If you are over 18, register to vote and make sure to participate in all elections that you can. You can register online or at the DMV. All elections matter, including the local ones for positions in your community. Even if you are 17 or 16, you can pre-register to vote depending on where you live. No matter what some people might say, your vote matters and voicing your opinion through voting is the single most important thing you can do.
-Keep informed about issues that matter to you. Consider doing individual research into the issues that matter to you whether that is abortion to cost of college to living wages. Watching the nightly news or reading the news daily can help to inform your opinion on current events. Seek out both sides on an issue before committing to a viewpoint.
-Pursue political activism or opportunities There are so many opportunities out there for you to pursue. Join a march or protest. Start a political club at school or outside with like-minded individuals. Join a campaign for public office as a staffer or an intern. By getting involved, you can satiate a desire to make a change.
-Run for office. If you want to make a difference in your local community and there are some positions open to you, run for office when you are old enough. Many young people are running for local positions and winning those races. Besides, there is no better way to make an impact. Start a small campaign and spread the word that you are running.
At the end of the day, young people need to realize that we are the change the world needs. Through various means, many young Americans can voice their beliefs and make Generation Z a political force to be reckoned with.
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Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.