By: Isabella Chamberland (Senn senior)
Whenever a presidential election is coming up, one particular age group always seems to be the butt of criticism: Young People. We are called lazy, careless, and usually blamed for a lack of political awareness. But is there truth to that stereotype? Are young people actually ignorant of today’s political climate?
As a member of Generation Z, Gen Z for short, I’ve seen the immense amount of passion that my peers exhibit while discussing politics. I see my friends who are 18, waiting in two hour long lines to vote, without even complaining because in the end they know it’s worth it. I hear the young voices being showcased at protests. I feel the passion that we speak with whenever someone brings up an important issue. I think there’s a grave misunderstanding while approaching Gen Z and their commitment to being politically active. Sure there are always going to be the ones who don’t care, but that’s applicable to any generation.
While investigating if there’s merit to the idea that young people don’t care, it’s important to observe our own community and how it fosters civic engagement. A specific community that I am a part of, Senn High School, is full of the passion for politics that I described earlier. The student body is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, which is shown via our dedication to protesting and speaking out on multiple issues.
If you were to take one step into Senn High School, you’d see that the idea that young people don’t care is far from true. One Senn Senior, Trish Le describes and justifies her involvement with politics because “it’s important to stay aware and connected to your surroundings and community.” Trish brings up a good point, being involved with politics allows you to connect with your community on a deeper level.
Another Senn Senior, Angela Mendoza said, “Everyone’s voice matters because it directly impacts our environment.”
Based on these answers, it seems as though Senn Students have a pretty good grasp on the importance of staying engaged. But how are we and the rest of our generation engaging and staying politically active?
Michael Ruhl, another Senn Senior said, “I’m protesting as much as I can and sharing information when relevant.”
Amna Sivac, a sophomore at Senn, unable to vote, uses her voice to “talk to my friends/family members who are over the voting age and encourage them to vote”.
Mia Mendoza, a Senn Senior is working as an election judge during a shortage of election workers due to COVID in order to allow civic engagement and voting to continue during these tough times.
Ameera Sierra, a Senn Junior, is keeping up on politics by “watching debates, reading articles, and going into the world from unbiased sources to stay informed.”
These are just a handful of civically engaged students, but Senn High School is chalk-full of students who are engaging and changing the world by remaining politically active.
Our Generation is not perfect, but it’s not a fair judgement of us to stay that we simply “do not care,” because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even students like me, who aren’t old enough to vote, find ways to continue making an impact and harbor passion for politics.