Fighting the Lazy Millennial Myth
Posted by Nigel Morton
February 9, 2016
Being a politically involved and concerned millennial is hard when older generations do nothing but criticize your generation for being lazy, having a short attention span, being addicted to technology, or being non-committal. Constantly hearing that your generation falls short of the mark adds a whole new challenge for progressive millennials in conservative areas who are trying to make long-lasting change. The best way to fight the feeling of disenfranchisement is to connect and build teams with other millennials who are committed to making a difference.
I got that refreshing feeling yesterday at URGE’s Kansas Advocacy Day. Not only did we get the chance to work with other college students, we also worked with and got support from older, concerned community members. Unfortunately, not everyone can make the time to travel to their state capitol to have their voices heard or find that sense of community among like-minded folks, and these events only happen once or twice a year.
Thankfully, there are ways to carry the energy that events like URGE Advocacy Day creates and build civic engagement and community among young people.
Here are effective ways to be civically engaged:
Exercise Your Voting Right
The most effective way to be heard and valued by elected officials is to make an informed vote. Not only do you have the chance to choose people you like to be your representative, but even if someone you don’t agree with wins, their job is still at the will of your vote.
Learn who represents you and communicate with them
With the idea of holding an elected official accountable, it’s only possible to do that if you know who represents you and how to get in touch with them. Email addresses and office numbers are crucial. So is knowing if and when they hold town hall meetings for the district. If they don’t respond favorably social media is extremely effective for public accountability. They have to respond otherwise it looks like they don’t listen to their constituents. It is also important to know their voting record. Many states have online databases with that information.
Participate in local groups
Another way to get involved and also find a sense of community among like-minded millennials is to get involved in local or campus organizations. URGE chapters are just an example of an outlet for college students. In Kansas, we also have NOW and Equality Kansas, which works for LGBTQIA rights.
Read local news sources
The ultimate way to make an informed vote is to find information about local issues. National news outlets often ignore local issues for broader, higher rating earning stories. The best way to know what is happening in your state is to read your local newspapers, whether online or in print. School newspapers also provide a unique perspective to the issues.
Being an active Millennial is not a waste of time. It’s important because we are not ‘the future.’ Millennials live in the present world too and deserve just the same amount of political agency as the older generations.