For many years, the message was loud and clear: news happened, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Oil spills, wars I didn’t support, and growing injustice? Nothing I could do except listen to NPR. Waves of hateful legislation? Good luck coping! Elections I cared about deeply? Sit back and let the adults handle it.
I heard all these messages because I was under 18. Our society tends to tell young people what we can’t do: we reinforce the importance of adulthood, of voting as our most critical civic duty, of learning before we act. All of these matter, but here’s the truth: young people have opinions and power. Shocking, I know.
There’s no magic switch the day we turn 18. Jewish Community Action’s young leaders are deeply informed NOW about the issues affecting our state. They follow the news, they come up with innovative plans for Minnesota, and they aren’t afraid to speak out when policy affects their lives and their communities. They are changing our state, and they’re doing all this without casting a single ballot.
Young people have power, and need to use it. Whether or not you can vote yet, I challenge you to ignore what you can’t do. There really isn’t that much of it. Instead, figure out what you want to see changed, learn about your issue, come up with a plan, and then go make the change.
JCA is committed to building power for our generation. This summer, we’re reviving the Seeds of Justice Fellowship, which gives opportunities to high school students to explore their passions, learn what makes a successful campaign, and then step up and act. If you care about Minnesota, our country, or the world, join us in making them better. You can find the Seeds of Justice application here.
News happens, and we need to be the ones who make it.
Founded in 2009, the Seeds of Justice Fellowship engages young people in community organizing with Jewish Community Action and other organizations and individuals. Fellows learn about creating change from a Jewish cultural and historic lens. Seeds of Justice combines social justice, arts, and culture to train young people to help create a better community, and a better world.
Download the application for Seeds of Justice 2013-2014 HERE and follow instructions to complete it. Applications are due by July 1, 2013 (priority deadline: June 3, 2013). Contact Jesse or Nora with questions!