Historically, young people have earned a bad rap for sitting out elections. But as Election Day 2020 nears, we know that things will be different. Young people across the country are making their voices heard via social media and on the ground, as they prepare to cast their ballots and turn the tide on low voter turnout among their generation.
Our Campus Corps Chapters and youth Climate Reality Leaders are no different – and they’re having a big impact on how young people view being civically engaged.
At Iowa State University’s Campus Corps chapter, civic engagement and voter outreach has been a top priority for this semester.
Hector Arbuckle, co-chair of the Iowa State chapter, points out, “Young people make up the largest voting bloc in the United States. Because of this, we have been talking to students around campus about why their involvement matters – and how we can use our voices to call for necessary change.”
The chapter is working with other organizations on campus that are focusing on civic engagement at all levels. They hope to impart a powerful message: that voting really can make a difference.
Not too far from Iowa, Climate Reality Campus Corps at Wayne State University is also promoting the message far and wide that young people being civically engaged is the only way to make their voices heard.
Classes and extracurriculars have gone virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the chapter has gone virtual too, relying on social media and digital outreach to make sure they are creating change.
“We have been advocating for people to register to vote and to do anything in their power to make it to the polls this upcoming election. Through our Instagram posts and peer-to-peer outreach, we believe that we are reaching students and young people all over southeast Michigan,” said Tejas Karun, Wayne State University’s Campus Corps Chapter’s founder and chair. “Increasing awareness about the importance of civic engagement, voting, and volunteering to be a poll worker are some ways that we are calling fellow young people to make sure they are involved in the electoral process.”
“Civic engagement is one of the main ways for people to call for change for our communities, and the decisions we make today are the ones that will have continue to have an impact over time,” Tejas continued. “Through elections, policies, programs, and so much more brought to us by voting, we have the capacity to change the world for the better.”
We know voting is a tool to make your voice heard, but what if you are not old enough to cast a ballot?
Simon Aaron is just 14, but he has a very big goal: making sure the youth vote is heard this November. As a member of Climate Reality’s Los Angeles chapter and founder of its youth committee, Simon has been making waves bringing young people into the process.
“We have been doing everything we can to increase civic engagement in our community and beyond. We are organizing postcard writing parties to engage with young voters across the country on a personal level, and are actively amplifying volunteer opportunities for nonpartisan voter outreach,” Simon said.
While he cannot vote himself for a few more years, volunteering to reach out to voters has helped Simon feel like he is making a difference.
“I need to know that come Election Day, I did everything I could to ensure the highest youth voter turnout in history; that I pushed and fought and spent every single minute I could spare calling voters,” Simon added. “I spend at least two hours phonebanking each week. It’s not enough, but it is something.”
Historically, young people have led many social and political movements, and in that fact, Simon sees opportunity. “It is up to us to make a change,” he said.
Join the Fight
Young people around the country are taking their futures into their own hands and making their voices heard.
And you too can make a difference in your community.
We don’t have to tell you what’s at stake in the 2020 election. You already know it’s everything.
That’s why we’re teaming up with EARTHDAY.ORG and the Hip Hop Caucus for Your Vote, Your World, a live digital rally on October 24 with activists, artists, musicians, and cultural icons.
We’ll be joined by former US Vice President Al Gore, Stacey Abrams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Ronson, Dave Matthews, Drew and Jonathan Scott, Zeke Thomas, Rev. William Barber II, Don Cheadle, Kal Penn, Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Catherine Coleman Flowers, Thomas Middleditch, Shepard Fairey, and many, many more.
Rally with voters across the country and join us for Your Vote, Your World this Saturday at 1 PM.
Before You Go
At Climate Reality, we work hard to create high-quality educational content like blogs, e-books, videos, and more to empower people all over the world to fight for climate solutions and stand together to drive the change we need. We are a nonprofit organization that believes there is hope in unity, and that together, we can build a safe, sustainable future.
But we can't do it without your help.
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