As a young person in today’s world, I know it is absolutely crucial to develop your own voice, whether that be through protests, rallies, or a single conversation with a group of friends. We all have the power to send a ripple through our community, and it is our choice to decide if that ripple will be one of benefit. I recently reached out to the young people in my community to ask them for their thoughts on the importance of youth voices and involvement.
Photo: Jason Rosewell on Unsplash
It is easy to find ourselves lost in our phones when, in reality, that is where we can be found. Society doesn’t work without the voices of the people and, when connected to the media, we are unstoppable. Standing in both power and thought, young people have a vast community accessible through social media, and it is “a great platform to not only voice your own opinions, but to explore ideas that you may not have encountered otherwise. Social media has definitely aided in the growth of a young person’s voice,” said Theo, age 15. "It’s important to share your voice as a young person, because with each rising age comes a new set of fresh ideas, different from the last, and if our voices aren’t heard, then things won’t change,” stated Katie, age 17. Youth are naturally creative, charismatic, and want to step outside the box. Why not step out of the rigid social construct and look at one another as human beings? Today there are no black and white answers, but a gray area that is dependent on strong and reasonable voices. Young people today can usher in that age of reason.
Concerning politics, it is very important that young people are knowledgeable on communal and global issues, “so when the time comes to vote, young people can make a well educated decision that will ultimately affect our future,” said Laurel, age 17. The development of our voices today affects future communities, our country, and worldly affairs. Respectfully approaching any situation with individual opinions, but with an open mind as well, will allow for growth. As a young person, when we voice our valid thoughts, our elders “know we are their future, so they will listen. Since we have this unique power, we have to use it (not abuse it), and stand up for equality and peace,” (Laurel, age 17).
“I’m a small fish in a big pond; however, that doesn’t mean I plan on staying quiet,” said Rebecca, age 16. Despite any preconceived ideas about the importance of a young person’s voice, we must keep in mind that our words have value, and will one day be the words that lead the people. So, rather than immediately determining someone’s worth based on stereotypes about their viewpoints, let’s have open conversations, without hatred or bias, in order to expand our horizons emotionally and politically. Let’s wholeheartedly find our own voice in this world.
Hello, my name is Zaria Whitacre and I am 17 years old. I am on the Child Advocacy Team at Bolton Refuge House, member of my high school’s student council, student newspaper, public relations officer for my school’s chapter of Amnesty International, and a member of Teen Literacy Initiative. I write for Affinity Magazine, Noise Complaint, and make frequent submissions to my hometown newspaper. I wish to inspire others to stand up for their beliefs, be confident, and always compassionate to those you don’t understand. I’m not sure what I want to do in the future, but I know I want happiness for myself and those around me.