Young People Can Make a Difference in Society; Their Voices Are Important

Julius Perez, Reporter

One of the most frustrating feelings I’ve felt is scrolling through social media and seeing people tell politically inclined teenagers that they shouldn’t care about social issues or be interested in politics, because they “can’t even vote.” The mindset is privileged and naive, unfortunately popular among other kids under 18 who aren’t politically inclined. It’s fine if you didn’t want to be involved in politics at a young age, however it is unacceptable to insult or attempt to shame a young person for wanting to have a positive impact on society. 

Not only is this claim ignorant, it is false. Often what comes with this statement is a stubborn and blind discussion on how you can make no difference if you can’t vote. This is astonishing because you must have to actively try to not discern the countless people under 18 making a lasting difference on society. Greta Thunberg started a global climate change movement by standing outside the Swedish parliament with a sign in order to bring attention to her cause. She promptly created an international movement, rebuking United Nations members at their general assembly for a lack of action. She had the maturity and poise to criticize some of the most powerful diplomats in the world while taking sinister insults from adults on social media. There are plenty of others as well; Mari Copney, Marley Diaz, and the Parkland shooting survivors (David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, Emma González, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind) are all examples of incredible people under 18 who have changed the world and brought attention to their respective issues. 

For many people in the US and around the world, politics and government isn’t something they can just care about or not care about. The decisions made by people in power can shape opportunities in their lives, and simply their access to clean water, food, shelter, and education. Knowing that you can create change and being willing to do so is only half of it. Kids under 18 have countless opportunities to have an effect, despite the fact that they can’t vote. Activism is one example of a great way to do this. Attending a protest or demonstration, or even organizing an event can and will help bring attention to issues you wish to see addressed. Canvassing for a political party is a great way to be involved in politics. It is one of the most direct routes people under 18 have to create change. This goes along with texting or calling representatives to discuss what you would like to see done.

City High students all take part in this on a daily basis and there are plenty of resources at City High and in the community if you are interested in taking action. The 2020 election is coming up, and is a good place to start. However, if all of the things I’ve just listed are seeming pretty intimidating, you can always call or text family members or friends over 18 and make sure they are voting.