When the political tide of our country made a dramatic rightward shift, responses were heard across the country and around the world. One of the strongest and most persistent voices since Trump’s 2016 election is that of the millennial generation. From marches to social media movements, my generation has let the world know that we care about our country and are willing to take a stand for what is right.
January 19, 2019 marked Salt Lake City’s 3rd annual Women’s March, which was largely a youth-led movement. The all-youth activist group, People for Unity, organized and spearheaded the event. People for Unity’s Utah chapter is led by a group of University of Utah students, including the co-founder Colette Raptosh, Christian Nicholes, Will Tanguy, Jade Jess, and Izabella Hatton. The group organized the march route, invited speakers, and spread the word about the event. When attending the event, I felt moved by the passion displayed by so many people of my generation. Their dedication to political involvement and action is a testament to the way that our country’s youth is ready to make bold moves in the political arena.
And the Women’s March is far from being the only example of youth-led marches and protests. The Deseret News reports that the “March for Our Lives” movement was the “largest-ever protest led by high school students.” The youth in Salt Lake City and around the country came out in hordes to stand in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Parkland shooting and to encourage legislative change.
Both of these events mark an uptick in political participation, as the younger generation is realizing how politics directly affects our lives and that we have the power to make a difference. Millennials are beginning to realize the impact that a movement can have, especially when an issue touches the lives of many.
Political protests aren’t the only evidence of young people being involved in politics. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials and Gen Xers (ages 36-51) surpassed Baby Boomers and other older generation’s share of the vote in the 2016 election, earning a slight majority. And the young voice is only expected to grow in upcoming elections, as millenials are expected to surpass the Gen X vote in the 2020 election. In the 2018 midterm election, millenial turnout was up 188% from the 2014 midterms. With millennials poised to be the largest generation so far, their vote is sure to play an important part in elections. And if recent events are any indication, you can be sure that millennials will be invested in election results. For my generation to be heard and taken seriously, it’s paramount that we continue to show up to vote.
More and more, millenials are shifting the narrative in America’s politics. Progressive movements are transforming the conversation, putting a spotlight on accountability and progressive change. Millenials are electing more diverse, progressive, and transparent politicians, furthering the movement of transformative change. Many of those who participate in these demonstrations are high school students who are not yet able to vote. Those who are already involved will certainly show up to the polls when they’re eligible and increase the strength of the millennial vote.
It’s time that we discard notions of millennials and young people as unmotivated and self-righteous. Millennials have proven time and time again that we’re willing to take action in the name of what is right. We’ve made our voices heard in the streets and you can count on us making them heard in state governments and Washington next.
Madison Nagel is a legislative intern with Alliance for a Better Utah.