The Streets are Watching. The question is what do we want them to see?
For YCCS students, the future is now. What they partake in today will reflect in the health and wellness of their communities tomorrow. Their path to a bright, productive and healthy future depends on their ability to navigate and actively participate in democracy. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to have students actualize their potential and to know their value as a civically responsible citizen.
Unfortunately, too many young people are disconnected from the democracy happening around them every day. If they’re lucky, they have an adult in their lives who discusses politics with them, or occasionally watch the news to keep up with current events that are unfolding within the government and with national policy.
YCCS doesn’t rely on happenstance, but instead is very intentional about civically engaging youth and activating their desire for social justice and transformative change. It is essential to empower and provide youth with a platform for their collective voices and concerns to be heard. It is incumbent upon us to educate them about the processes and functions of government, in addition to the importance for them to vote and to hold their elected officials accountable.
It has been inspiring to experience students’ development firsthand. Students have shifted from not believing their voice and vote matter, to facilitating voter registration drives and hosting a governors’ forum, galvanizing their peers to become civically engaged.
Global Majority Youth Rising (GMYR) interns will continue to build upon their progress and momentum over the summer and into the fall, training on voter education. They plan to register new student voters and educate their peers about local, state and national politics, and how young people and communities of color are impacted by them.
The streets will witness youth leading the charge to bring positive change to their schools and communities. The streets will know another future is possible, one that doesn’t involve violence, poverty, and incarceration.
Civic Engagement Consultant