Members of Congress, Gen Z activists demand President Biden address key issues ahead of the 2024 presidential election

U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told theGrio, that it is okay for voters to be frustrated and depressed over the issues plaguing the U.S., “but we have to put those words into action.”

Members of Congress and Gen Z activists are calling on the Biden-Harris administration to commit to the “Finish the Job” agenda ahead of the 2024 presidential race.

On Wednesday, Reps. Summer Lee, D-Pa., Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Greg Casar, D-Texas, Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. and members of Gen-Z for Change, March for Our Lives, Sunrise Movement and United We Dream Action held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington to D.C. to call for President Joe Biden to focus on several key issues in the coming months including the implementation of stronger gun control measures and creating fair immigration policies, if he wants the support of younger voters.

U.S. Capitol,
Vehicles are parked outside the U.S. Capitol building as House Republicans continue the process of electing a new U.S. Speaker of the House on Oct. 11, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

This press conference comes nearly a month after a bipartisan immigration bill that stripped migrants of their rights, failed to pass in the U.S. Senate. 

Although President Biden touted the bill as a “win for America,” Gen Z activists slammed the Biden-Harris administration for putting forth a bill that would make it harder for migrants to seek asylum in the U.S.

Young activists want to see the Biden-Harris administration put forth efforts to protect asylum seekers, especially minority migrants who oftentimes face discrimination at the U.S.-Mexico border, as they are fleeing violence, starvation, prosecution or war in their home country.

U.S. Rep. Lee told theGrio, that “Right now, it’s so important that we answer the call that young people around this country are giving to government officials, those of us who have a sacred responsibility of serving as representatives.”

Gen Z activists have also led calls for gun reform legislation following countless mass shootings that have taken place in grocery stores, supermarkets, schools and concerts across the U.S. in recent years.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, an organization that tracks gun violence across the U.S., 656 mass shootings took place in 2023.

U.S. Rep. Summer Lee,
Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., participates in the House Oversight and Accountability Committee organizing meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

To date, members of Congress have failed to pass comprehensive gun reform that could curtail mass shootings and everyday gun violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities.  

U.S. Rep. Bowman told theGrio that it is important the members of Congress and Generation Z work together to save democracy and humanity.

“We’re not going to win unless we build an incredible coalition across this country,” he said.

“This isn’t just about elections, this is about who we are as people in this country. What do we stand for…what are we willing to fight for,” he continued.

During the press conference, members of Congress and Gen Z activists also called on the Biden-Harris administration to terminate the use of fossil fuel to sustain the Earth by protecting the environment, expand the conservative-majority Supreme Court to preserve democracy and restore balance and fairness to the bench, hold the gun lobby and industry accountable and end discrimination at the border that has resulted in the deportation of Black and brown migrants.  

U.S. Rep. Khanna told theGrio, “I believe that young people are sharing their moral vision for the country and they’re telling us that we have a problem right now.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman,
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., listens to fellow speakers before President Joe Biden speaks on the debt limit during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, May 10, 2023, in Valhalla, N.Y. (Photo by John Minchillo, AP, File)

“Young people are opposed to war in the Middle East,” he said. “We need to listen to them and we need to lift up their voice.”

A New York Times poll found that nearly half of the Gen Z participants disapprove of President Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas conflict and his reluctance to call for a ceasefire. During the press conference, Gen Z activists stated that they were hesitant to vote for him again in the 2024 presidential election due to the loss of life in Gaza and the lack of support the U.S. has provided to Palestinians.

To date, more than 30,000 people have died in Gaza since the conflict began on Oct. 7, 2024. For months, activists and congressional members have called on Biden to push for a ceasefire, however their demands have fallen on deaf ears.

Noah Lumbantobing, director of communications for March for Our Lives, told theGrio, that “Young people today are the most progressive generation in decades and we need to see candidates and leaders who reflect our interests.”

“People in power can’t take our votes for granted,” he said.

He added that the Biden-Harris administration needs to do more to secure Gen Z’s vote in the 2024 presidential election.

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