Young adults today are more aware than ever of all the social justice issues that surround them due to the widespread access to information through the internet and social media. They are also more ambitious in their efforts to strive for a better future.
We are faced with a world suffused with racism, classicism, violence, corruption and misogyny. However, this does not discourage our generation. Rather, it makes us more determined to move forward through organization and peaceful protest.
Students should not have to feel restrained by their age due to misconceptions about their capabilities of helping the various causes in their communities. Just because we are young does not mean we cannot stand up for our beliefs. There is no reason to accept the prejudice or violence in the world just because of our age.
“Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society,” civil rights leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Cesar Chavez said. We should all strive to be a part of that civilized society, no matter our age.
There are many opportunities within our various communities for students to get involved. They can take part in volunteering within their communities to see these issues first hand and assist those already working to create change.
For instance, students who have concerns about the environment can volunteer with organizations such as Tree People, Food Forward and Heal the Bay. For those devoted to the improvement of civil rights, there are organizations such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), Bus Riders Union (BRU), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
However, students can also lead their own movements or help by spreading education in their local areas.
“Each person must live their life as a model for others,” civil rights leader and member of NAACP Rosa Parks said.
There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in protests and demonstrations. Flyers on social media or at local college campuses can be helpful. Students can even form clubs at their own campuses, which allows others with similar ideas to come together and collaborate. At Granada Hills Charter High School, we already have clubs available to everyone including Black Student Union (BSU), Latinos United Cultural Education (LUCE) and Gay Straight Alliance (GSA).
“It’s easier to make change when the community agrees to helping find a solution,” BSU Co-President and senior Nia Tillotson said.
Change starts from within an individual, and it only takes one person to speak up for others to be encouraged to as well. There is power in numbers but those numbers cannot be created without a point of influence.
“When just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society,” according to a study completed by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Just because an individual is young does not mean he/she should resign to being inactive. It is important to always remember to stand for a cause whether that be as a feminist, civil rights advocate, environmentalist, or animal rights activist. Stand proud and take initiative. Through organization, meaningful demonstrations, art, performance, and politics anyone can be the change one wants to see in the world.