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Do We Even Care?

What are teenagers doing to express their political opinions?

Student+activism+is+on+the+rise%2C+and+our+generation+is+lucky+to+be+a+part+of+it.+But+how+can+you+be+an+active+part%3F+
Student activism is on the rise, and our generation is lucky to be a part of it. But how can you be an active part?

Student activism is on the rise, and our generation is lucky to be a part of it. But how can you be an active part?

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Student activism is on the rise, and our generation is lucky to be a part of it. But how can you be an active part?

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In the political era of President Trump, a renewed interest among young adults has given rise to more engagement with legislators on hot-button issues. Fierce debates on immigration and gun control have taken the stage recently; but do teenagers truly care about these issues?

According to sophomore Sanjit Beriwal, “making a serious effort to understand the current situation for all people around the world constitutes political involvement.”

Students at NAI have a limited impact on political decisions, as the voting age is 18. However, even though voting is the go-to answer when asked how people shape politics, there is much more that teens can do.

An impressive example of this is at the site of a recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School in Parkland, Florida. 17 students and teachers were brutally and fatally shot at the hands of 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the high school. After the shooting, students of the school have risen from the ashes to tackle the gun control issue and call for common-sense gun laws. Their movement, “Never Again”, has quickly gained traction, especially amongst high school teens. On February 20, over 1,000 West-Boca High School students ran out of their school, skirting past police officers, teachers, and administrators; they marched 12 miles to Stoneman Douglas. The air of rebellion and protest is in the air now more than ever, and teens are at the forefront of it.

In a fiery speech about teenagers and politics, Stoneman Douglas high school senior Emma Gonzalez passionately cries, “Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are is self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn’t reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS…[they say] us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS!”

You’re never too young to help change the world.”

— Ainsley Ferron

Gonzalez’s words ring true for many; while students are required to chart countless sources for research papers and craft solid arguments in class, it still feels as though those in authority positions regard teens’ opinions with contempt.  Teens are often painted as naive, inexperienced, or as the archetypal “millennial”, who are catered to and have almost no aspirations.  

However, this caricature could not be more false.  

We do care about our futures and we want to be involved in that decision-making process.  No longer can we passively sit by as people who have little stake in the decisions which will form our lives go on plotting our lives.  We should be using the skills we have learned in school for more than just performance on a test; our learning can be a catalyst for real change.

Student activism is on the rise, and our generation is lucky to be a part of it. But how can you be an active part?

Students at NAI have gone to protests against the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group that preaches homophobic, anti-Catholic, and racist ideologies. Additionally, the Women’s March, lectures, and volunteering for congressional campaigns are just some of the many activities that teens are taking part in to change the world.

But, what if there is no time for community outreach or lectures? Simple: keep up with the news.

The media is an essential check on the government, and one of its essential purposes is to provide information to the public in an objective manner. The New York Times, The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and The Washington Post were the most mentioned media outlets amongst the youth; some other names that were mentioned were Fox News, The Drudge Report, and CNN (Cable News Network).

When asked about teenage political engagement, Ainsley Ferron said, “Even though we can’t vote, I believe it that it is still extremely important to speak out about the issues that affect us, so our voices won’t be lost. Educating ourselves and forming our own opinions this early on only leaves more room to develop and mature our stances. You’re never too young to help change the world.”

Let’s get to work.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Do We Even Care?”

  1. Anna Falcione on February 26th, 2018 7:10 am

    Jaime,

    Great article! Very informative! Youth for Action (YFA) kind of article. Great Job! Very proud of you Jaime! Keep up the fantastic work!

    The world needs restructuring for the good of all people. I truly believe it can be done through our young adults who are willing to fight for what is right and just. We all strive for love and peace in the world and it starts with one person at a time young and old.

    God bless America, God bless the World and God bless each and everyone!

    Peace

    [Reply]

  2. Sister Roberta Campbell on February 26th, 2018 3:13 pm

    Jaime,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the excellent article. I applaud you and the youth of our day who are willing to step forward and tell us, “Never Again!” . The horrific violence that the community in Parkland, FL have had to endure is so sad and frustrating.

    Thomas Merton (a Trappist monk and a true “Peace-Maker”) wrote: “Grant us prudence in proportion to our power, wisdom in proportion to our science and humaneness in proportion to our wealth and might. Bless our earnest will (desire) to help all races and people to travel in friendship along the road to justice, liberty and lasting peace.”

    I find “hope” in your article…hope that our young people will be able to make the cry for peace heard in the halls of government.

    Blessings,
    SIster Roberta

    [Reply]

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