In light of the current widespread movements for justice and equality, there has been a push to educate ourselves and use our voices to make a change. With the upcoming 2020 elections, both at a federal, state, and local level, there is an enormous opportunity to make your voice heard. For many, this election is an expression of their values and what determines their rights, which is why we all need to participate to the best of our ability in the democratic process.
First, if you are eligible and able to vote, please do. Your vote can and will decide the future of this nation. The rights and liberties of many marginalized people around the country depend on it. Voting allows you to use your voice to stand up for what you believe in and elect candidates that will uphold your beliefs. Please make sure that you register and get out your vote.
Even if you’re under 18, or face other barriers from voting, there are still many ways to get involved. Educate yourself on local candidates and learn more about how you can get involved with their campaigns. Although these candidates may not be as well known as presidential candidates, their work still causes a huge impact on your community. It can also be a great way for you to become more directly involved to take action, as it’s easier to connect and take action locally with politicians in your community. You can get involved in text campaigns, letter writing, and phone banks to get the word out about your preferred candidates. Often, if you just search your favorite candidates, there will be a designated website with information on how to get involved. You can also help with this election by volunteering as a poll worker to help the ballot process go more smoothly.
Another great way to use your voice to make a change is by educating yourself and others around you about current issues in the world. Start by learning more about what is going on in the world and what you can do to help. If there are marginalized groups who are being affected by a certain problem, listen to their voices and educate yourself on experiences you have been privileged enough to not go through, and do your best to amplify their voices. Being an advocate for change also means creating change within your relationships with others. Educate your friends and family about the problems in the world we need to address, and if you are a witness to bigotry, speak up. With the strong influence technology has on our culture, a great way to educate yourself and others is through social media. Be sure to fact-check the information you consume, and then share it with your online communities. You can also start and/or join organizations that focus on issues you care about and build a community where you can learn about these topics and collectively work to make a change.
At times, when we see images of bigotry and oppression, it can feel disheartening. You may feel that, especially as a young person, there is nothing that you can do to improve the world. But that’s not true. Every voice matters. If you do your best to get yourself and those you know involved to make a change, things will improve. Every movement against injustice had to start somewhere, with someone, and you can make the world a better place.
Please find resources for youth electoral participation below: