Recently there was a girl who on Spring Break and was gang raped on the beach while others recorded on their cell phones and did NOTHING to stop her attackers. When I first heard this story it made me extremely upset to know that anyone had the audacity to violate a young lady in public. The moment that sent me over the edge was realizing just how many witnesses were there and did nothing to intervene!
Since when did young people become so complacent and so comfortable that they can’t step up to the plate when someone is being done wrong? Since when do they run their mouths about young black men who are shot by police and shout “Black Lives Matter!” but can’t show it in their actions?
Since when did they learn about their ancestors who have sacrificed their safety, security, and their lives for them to have opportunities and not seize them? Since when did young people get to the point of complacency that it’s okay to just “go with the crowd” rather than stand up and be the leaders and change they so desperately need?
I have a huge problem with this and I’m sure you do too! So what can we do about it? We’ve got to teach them better. We have to remind our young people WHO they are and teach them to be accountable to each other.
They are more than “likes” on Social Media and more than “followers”. They are leaders, they have voice and they have purpose. They have to be as on fire as we are about matters that affect their lives.
When I think back on who started movements, it was young people who pulled together and worked collectively under one vision. We have lost our way as a people but our young people need responsible people like us to guide them, teach them, have patience with them and not grow weary. They need me and they need you!
Here are several ways we can embrace youth voice:
1. Give youth a safe, non-judgemental environment in which to share their thoughts and ideas.
2. Allow them to use language that is comfortable to them. They aren’t us and will express themselves using acronyms and slang that’s generational; that’s okay.
3. Create or allow the young people to create a platform to share their voice. This may be an online magazine or YouTube channel.
Let’s not forget our responsibility to them. Be present and show they way! Let’s help to restore their fires.