Everybody keeps saying that I am a part of the next generation that is going to change everything. The generation of activism, of youth involvement; the first generation the one before it can’t call “lazy.” “We haven’t seen anything like this since Vietnam,” they’ll recount, and that will be followed by a heartfelt sentiment about how they wished that they too had inspired change, something like, “I was so afraid when the Cold War was in effect and in the midst of feeling like an ultimate death sentence, but I was hypnotized by the notion that speaking up would only cause more trouble,” which will come to a close when they wish me luck with my political and activism-based endeavors. This means the world to me; it’s a sufficient self-confidence pick-me-up that temporarily sedates my constant worry that my ambition and anger are not enough to effect any change whatsoever, even in my hometown. But when I go to lobby at the Capitol, and I’ve prepared multiple arguments, all pertaining to causes that I am readily prepared to fight for with both passion and vigor, I am faced with an empathetic smile and a time-tested cryptographic statement, such as, “We’ll see what we can do,” or, “We have something like that in the works,” the intention of which are genuine, but the promise of them as weak and as in need of constant reassurance as a baby’s neck. And this is not to say that I do not appreciate the time they have taken to listen to me, but I cannot fathom how they can so effortlessly choose to take my worries and my personal stories as cautionary tales, as opposed to fearful cries for their help that it’s hard not to spit out between successive sobs. The truth of the matter is that I am a member of the youth community. And to all of the full-grown entities in power, I am the future. There’s a critical error in their thought process: they do not see how I could be of use NOW, as opposed to in the irrelevant future. I, along with everyone else my age who has put in the time to take a stand, is no longer ‘the future’. We are the present. We are their aides in this fight against injustice, because we see injustice everyday of our lives. I have emceed the International Women’s Day rally, and I’ve spoken to members of the California Senate, but never do I feel as empowered or as in possession of a voice as when I am accompanied be other youth, other children, who feel the need to say something. It’s now taboo, or perhaps a cliche, to state that we are stronger together. People roll their eyes when you tell them that if we band together, they cannot help but pay attention to us. But ignoring these sentiments is what brings us to the abyss that is self-deprivation and failure. You have to find other people who want the same thing as you, who are aspiring to the same change, if you can even realistically hope that someone will hear you. As people so often miss my call to action, I would like to state it clearly; right here, right now. I am calling on you to make the change - to , “be a part of the change you want to see.” As Susan B. Anthony once said, “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform.” If we want to be heard, if we want to be trusted, if we are truly will in to commit to being the generation of change, then we have to make our values applicable to those that are already in existence. We will build upon the hard work of the past, using the blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors as a foundation on which to make the next step forward in our society. Our efforts shall no longer be in vain.
You're so right -- we live in a world that disempowers young people in so many ways. We spend a lot of time telling young people what they can't be, do, or say. Thank you for standing up against that -- and finding other young people to stand up with you. What's so hopeful about what you shared is your observation that you feel power when you are speaking up together with other youth, and that you plan to recruit them.
We're really excited to help you build a movement around this rallying cry. Let us know how we can support you.