Black youth activist movement at the forefront of political change
This week's episode of the 'Dear Culture podcast unpacks young Black activists and the impact they are having on the country
Weeks away from the 2020 election and politics continues to be on Americans’ minds. As this election year is estimated to bring forth record amounts of early voter turnout, voter efficacy is still somehow a debate.
Recently in California, Republicans were erecting mail drop-in boxes, where voters could turn in their votes. Whether the move was creating voter efficacy or ballot-throwing, many folks were alarmed including Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who ordered the GOP to remove said boxes because it’s illegal. Though the GOP said they have the right to launch mail drop-in boxes, it’s the Board of Elections that is truly in charge of collecting ballots.
With many other states encountering similar issues—from the Texas Governor Greg Abbot attempting to reduce ballot drop offs to the reduction of early voting through gerrymandering to voter ID laws making it difficult for folks who don’t have certain types of ID to vote—Americans are not surprised and remain geared up to vote.
Though it’s been like this for the better part of two decades, many people find it their personal responsibility to create the tides of change. With the youth often leading the charge to inform, mobilize, and enact change, this week on the Dear Culture podcast, hosts Shana Pinnock and Gerren Keith Gaynor take the time to highlight how the young have remained steadfast to the goal of equity. That’s why we’re asking, “Dear Culture, is it time we start taking youth activists more seriously?”
It’s no surprise that if you’re Black, you’ve faced racism. The Black community has been pushing the dial on racial equality with incredible strength and talent for generations. From the Isra Hirsi and Mari Copeny that work from the ground up, to the Marley Dias and Yara Shahidi that sit in boardrooms making change, the youth have certainly spoken. And it’s not just one, there’s plenty. As the social media platform Tik Tok has proven, the kids are tuned in and making meaningful changes in the face of activism in 15 seconds or less.
Be it digital activism, collective economics, allyship, or being on the front lines: the power of mobilization truly does change waves. We’ve seen record amounts of folks buying from Black businesses during this time, old and young alike marching at Black Lives Matter protests, allies like Claudia Conway, Kellyanne Conway’s daughter, spilling tea about her family on Tik Tok. Young people around the country are trying to do better, and since the global pandemic has made many of Americans quarantine, digital activism has finally started to be taken as seriously.
First labeled “lazy activism,” digital activism has made strides with the empowerment of the youth. As theGrio’s Social Media Director Pinnock reminds us “from Oregon to Louisville, people are still protesting,” and being online is how we can send our support and stay tuned. The internet remains a powerful platform for digital activism and how it intersects with other forms of activism.
Recently, what started as meme culture amongst Gen Z has made it to the main stage. Many kids jokingly called a racist white women Karens or Carens since several viral videos of those women harassing a Black people for no just cause have surfaced online. San Francisco has now become the first city to pass the CAREN Act, which bans racially motivated 911 calls.
From a meme to the books of government. The kids are more than alright.
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