Enough: Generation Z is Speaking

Monday Author: Susanne Skinner

#neveragain

Generation Z are children born in 1995 or later; the follow-on group to Millennials. They have grown up in a world defined by terrorist attacks, fiscal crisis, racial and religious conflict, and political division.

Time magazine, Enough, March for Our LIves, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Parkland shootingThese young people make up the largest percentage of the United States population at 25.9%. By 2020 that number will increase and Generation Z will account for one-third of the U.S. population.

As Generation Z enters the work force, they will contribute $44 billion to the American economy. They are social, diverse, savvy, and unafraid. As individuals they are bold thinkers; change agents in their understanding and approach to current affairs.

The Generation Zs are the next generation of voters. They are saying ENOUGH. The world is watching, and people are listening.

Telling It Like It Is

Last month’s shooting in Parkland, Florida, was one of the worst in US history. Surviving students stepped up and out, organizing a movement to change the national gun policy.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, two of the survivors, founded the #neveragain movement and organized the March for Our Lives, a nationwide project to end gun violence. These young people put themselves out there and discovered others are listening to what they have to say:

“Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.”

Last Saturday’s March for Our Lives drew an estimated 800,000 participants in Washington D.C, and in 800 locations across the globe. One young boy in Boston carried a sign that read “Am I Next?” while another’s read, “Fix this before I text my mom from under a desk.”

Generation Z organizers received funding from celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey; each pledging $500,000. New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft sent his team plane to ensure Marjory Stoneman Douglas students could attend the D.C. rally.

Grass-Roots Reform

March for Our Lives, Parkland shooting, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school, Generation ZStudents understand that gun reform hasn’t mattered to Congress or lawmakers who have refused to consider change. They are taking the grass-roots approach of raising public awareness and looking straight to the voters, inspiring a state-by-state reform.

Generation Z kids don’t embrace their parents’ values or believe what their friends believe. They have lived in the real world with enough knowledge to draw conclusions about the changes they want to see. Individual experiences have crafted their views of the way politics and the world work and given them voices that are strong and defiant.

Saying What They Mean

This week’s Time magazine cover features survivors of February’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting and the organizers of protests for stronger gun laws. The five students pictured have publicly demanded policy changes to keep schools safe, calling out lawmakers and holding them accountable for political alliances with the NRA.

Charlotte Alter, author of Time’s cover story writes,

“Over the past month, these students have become the central organizers of what may turn out to be the most powerful grassroots gun-reform movement in nearly two decades. For much of the rest of the country, numbed and depressed by repeated mass shootings, the question has become, Can these kids actually do it?”

On March 14t,h their efforts inspired students across the nation to walk out of their classrooms to protest gun violence. Many schools observed 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting. Eloquent voices and media-savvy presence from students not old enough to drive or vote have commanded the media and raised new levels of awareness and support.

The Post-Millennial Wave

The story of generational cycles tells us what one generation breaks, the next will fix, becoming agents for change. While the 9/11 tragedy heightened how we respond in an emergency, laws remained unchanged.

Generation Z, post-MillenialWhat did change? Students learned how to hide and run for cover. They had to walk through metal detectors and backpack checks to enter schools with locked doors. It became the new normal to ensure personal safety and security, but nobody fixed the problem.

After the Parkland shooting, students spoke out and stood up for change. They walked out of classes, organized themselves in powerful and articulate ways and got the attention of millions. Arguing for a revolution at the polls, they called on people at local levels to become registered voters and bring change in Washington D.C.

Generation Z and the Future of Politics

Generation Z votes are going to matter in the 2018 midterm elections when eight million more will cast ballots than in 2016.

The Zs are calling for voter action in a mid-term year. Calls to reform laws target both parties; they don’t align themselves with one over the other. Speakers are passionate and fierce in reminding politicians they will have the power to vote and are going to use it.

mid-term elections, Generation Z, speaking outIn the 37 days between the Parkland shooting and the D.C. March, students organized something that takes months to plan. They knew what they wanted and needed. Behind the scenes they rallied powerful and influential people who stepped up to help, asking for nothing in return.

There were no sponsor banners in the crowds, just handmade signs encouraging everyone to register, vote and change the policies. Calling themselves “the revolution,” students marched for change in a system they feel has become corrupt.

“We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into,” Cameron Kasky, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student said, “and create a better world for the generations to come.”

While their voting power is yet to be realized, the first steps have been taken. America sees young people determined to be the change they want to see in their world. I believe in them.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

4 thoughts on “Enough: Generation Z is Speaking

  1. David,

    I always welcome commentary and opinion on my blog posts as long as it stays on topic. The topic is the courage of these young people (who will be adults in a few years) to stand up and speak up for what they believe in. That is also an enumerated constitutional right…in fact, its the first one they wrote. They are not tyrants, nor is the funding cloaked – in fact its very transparent if you do a simple Google search. The large donors and their amounts were included in my post.

    • They are not tyrants; I don’t doubt that they have good intentions. We all know where those lead. Just like Hitler’s gun laws were for “social order” and such.

      I don’t trust those on the Left who want “reasonable” gun control because that will, inevitably, slide into total gun banning. Why gun bans? Because time and time and time again, gun confiscation precedes genocide.

      http://jpfo.org/pdf02/genocide-chart.pdf

      And here’s an article about those who are funding it.

      Sultan Knish: Who Runs March for Our Lives?
      http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2018/03/who-runs-march-for-our-lives.html

      You people demonize the NRA (which, thanks to the attacks on it, I’ve rejoined) without recognizing that it’s an association with – prior to the tragic school shooting – had over 5 million members, making it one of the largest single-issue civil rights groups around. Now, I hear it’s pushing 6 million.

      You see noble students. I see useful idiot pawns. And given ANTIFA and the other brownshirt-wannabes on college campuses, I see shock troops.

  2. And yet, the money behind them remains cloaked.

    Funny… I believe this is the first protest, ever, to advocate for the limitation of an enumerated Constitutional right. But then, aspiring tyrants love disarmed subjects.

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