Youth are often pushed to the sidelines when it comes to “adult topics”. Whether this is related to finances, relationships or politics, youth are often excluded from meaningful dialogue. However, after many decades, youth are finally beginning to come into the forefront of politics.
From lowering the age to vote from 21 to 18 in the 1970s, to advocating about school lunches and their dishonest “balanced” meals in the last several years, people once considered “not mature enough to handle big issues” have struggled to get what they feel is necessary.
“I’ve seen so many students make change around them,” said Dylan Freed, a high school senior at the Met Sacramento.” In my sophomore year, there was a freaking walkout to the capital for labor’s rights! I have friends who work in politics or want to do so later in life. We are the ones who should be allowed to contribute when things being changed affect us so greatly.”
Recently, California has undergone many attempts at possibly lowering the voting age to 17 years-old. Many students and policymakers believe that it may be helpful if 17 year-olds could vote, due to various policies affecting them and their lives. There were varied stances, but in the end, California is still continuing to try to lower the voting age.
“I think that pre-registering is a huge help for students to get more involved with politics,” said high school junior, Josephine Minnick. “ However, although those mock-elections are super helpful, they would be even better if we were educated. I find myself selecting candidates based off of what my parents have taught me or how I was brought up. I understand that I am lucky when it comes to growing up with a family that is super adamant about politics, but I also would like to learn about the parties and everything that comes with voting from people who aren’t just my parents.”
There are many movements and organizations that give youth the opportunity to advocate and use their voice to change. Whether it be Skyland Youth Media with Sol Collective, Girls on the Rise or the new Sunrise Movement, youth are being given platforms to speak up.
If you would like to check out any of these organizations previously mentioned, visit the following links: