Youth need to be more involved in political advocacy

Protesters gather at a climate strike May 5 in Chicago to advocate for the federal government to focus on solving the climate change issue.

Local climate activist group 350Kishwaukee partnered Wednesday with Sunrise Movement to host a meeting at 1121 Loren Drive, urging local youth and college students to be more active in advocating for the Green New Deal. Events such as these are a reminder of the need for young people to become more involved in supporting political movements they agree with.

With the upcoming presidential election in November, now is an important time for college students and other young voters to share their thoughts on contentious social and economic issues being debated by the presidential candidates.

Meryl Domina, co-chair of 350Kishwaukee and event organizer, said she hopes the event will encourage attendees to become more active in seeking change by promoting their political beliefs to government representatives.

The presentations at the meeting were created by Sunrise Movement, an youth-led political movement that advocates for political action on climate change.

“Young people can take action; they’re often more open minded than older people,” Domina said. “They are the ones who will inherit everything and be very much affected by [current events].”

The need for an increase in political activism and civic engagement among youth has been growing for a while.

Out of American citizens aged 18 to 29, 56% of men and 40% of women said they hadn’t participated in any civic or political action in the previous 12 months, according to a 2018 PRRI and The Atlantic Civic Engagement Survey for the midterm elections. When Americans aged 65 and over were asked the same question, 28% of men and 41% of women reported no political engagement.

Younger Americans being uninterested in participating in political rallies, protests and elections is concerning because current policies will affect younger generations’ futures.

Regardless of what people’s political beliefs are, it is important for them to speak up.

The effort made by 350Kishwaukee and the Sunrise Movement to get younger voters to advocate for the Green New Deal is just one example of the many issues that young people care about and need to be speaking about more.

“I think young people are very much concerned about the environment,” co-chair of 350Kishwaukee Dave Davis said. “We can see it in the demonstrations that have gone on in Chicago and worldwide. Whenever we talk to young people in DeKalb or other places, they are all very much concerned about the climate crisis.”

The amount of concern young people have for issues such as climate change should be reflected in their advocacy efforts.

Even doing simple things such as writing letters to local representatives can be just as effective as attending a protest or rally and is more effective than doing nothing.

In terms of expressing interest in current political issues, actions speak louder than words, and young voters should not stay silent.

More Opinion Stories

top story featured
  • Updated

The legal smoking age of tobacco was raised from 18 to 21 in December. Because of this, many hookah bars have found themselves struggling after a large portion of their customers became unable to partake in business. Aromas Hookah Bar, 811 W. Lincoln Highway, will benefit from a new business…

top story
  • Updated

Now that marijuana is legal in Illinois, there is a concern regarding employment. How will business’ drug-testing policies affect employees who use marijuana? Because marijuana is now legal, using it should be the same as going home and drinking a beer. There is a large number of businesses …

Going away to college is something a lot of people dream of. Every year, students around the world apply to and enroll at different universities. Despite this, NIU’s enrollment is dropping every year. If the university hopes to break this trend, it needs to improve the way that it shows pros…

top story

President Donald Trump gave his third State of the Union address Tuesday. Meant to show the country that it is in a good state, the address showed that there is a huge divide between the political parties. While the address is given every year, this year’s address was given under special cir…

top story

Many midwesterners will remember spotting monarch butterflies floating over the region’s prairies in the dog days of August, hunting for milkweed after their long flight from the south. Eastern Monarch sightings have been rare after a long period of population decline, but a count from Janua…