Youth Activists Inspire Change

Olivia Dowdy, Guest Contributor

Youth activism is a central part of politics — a long and proud history stretching from the Little Rock Nine, to the outrage surrounding the Parkland school shooting, to the organizations fighting the climate crisis, proves that the voices of young people are key in fighting for change.

As time passes, and current youth activists come into positions of power, the hope is that the future will be a brighter place.

“I think there will be a lot of children — and teens especially — developing their own views, apart from their parent’s views…,” freshman Mireille Spicer said. “There are less go-to options. I think we’re going to develop into a better country.

“There’s a lot of controversy now on very specific issues… there is going to be a huge spectrum of issues that people butt heads on,” Spicer said. “People have their set lists of what’s controversial and what’s not, so they’ll pay less attention to what’s on their newsfeed. A lot of people… I think, were affected by all this hate towards every side.”

The fight for change is one that all can play a part in.

“People always have the power to change their current situations. For us as teenagers, gaining more awareness about the political landscape and voting appropriately is one of the most potent tools we have…,” senior Scottlyn Ballard said. “And that’s not just in the national elections. If you want to see tangible change in your community, vote for new mayors. Vote for new governors. You have to vote. There is power in the ballot.”

In addition to voting, marches and protests are useful in inspiring political change.

“…they have gotten a lot more child and teen-friendly, such as having some kind of class beforehand about the topic or meeting other teens…,” Spicer said. “And this is a great time for us to be getting involved with major issues… It’s a great opportunity to learn more about what is going on and how much power we have as the people.”

Sophomore Alexia Pastore-Perez agrees.

“They’ll impact the future for the better,” Pastore-Perez said. “And hopefully make positive changes.”