Political negativity empowers Gen Z activism


After garnering hundreds of peaceful protesters, the local media caught wind of the work that U. City students put in. “We were interviewed by a lot of news outlets,” said Khloe Fox, junior. “There’s a lot of articles online that captured the moment, we got so much exposure.”

Alara Stewart, Staff Writer

Today, politics are integrated into almost everything, including social media, home life and school. In turn, Generation Z has been motivated to stay on top of the news, and take action to make change. 

 “It’s made me realize that there’s so many problems in the world and we could be solving them, but we’re just always arguing about something, so sometimes it’s just better to take it into your own hands and go and protest or sign a petition or plan an event or something to help,” Mouhamed Ly, sophomore, said. 

For some students, political activism is going out and actively participating whereas others prefer keeping up with the news and remaining politically aware. 

“I keep up with the news, and TikTok because they have stuff on there too, and just tune into what’s going on with the world,” said Kamille Buck, sophomore. 

Stay-at-home restrictions due to COVID-19 in the past year prevented many young people from participating in political events and protests. However, with the spark of Black Lives Matter protests throughout the summer, students took matters into their own hands, such as when U. City students organized and led a protest throughout University City streets. 

“There were always events, and protests and stuff like that, but with COVID everything just became more complicated,” said Ly.

Influence from the media plays a role in Gen Z’s interest in politics, however, the negativity of politics has been a central figure in their lives. The constant turmoil of American politics is not hidden from them, but rather forced upon them due to its unavoidable presence. 

“One of the most powerful voices we hear in the country today is from our young people,” President Joe Biden said during the Democratic National Convention. “They’re speaking to the inequity and injustice that has grown up in America. Economic injustice. Racial injustice. Environmental injustice.” 

Although it may seem that activism is a burden to some young people due to their school stress and extracurriculars, many students disagree. 

“I think nowadays it is important to be politically active because so much stuff is political that you have to know about this stuff and you can’t just ignore it,” Ly said. “You’re just being ignorant if you’re not paying attention to politics.” 

Not only do politics play an important role in their lives now, but Gen Z’ers have already begun to think about how their decisions will affect their political future. 

“If you think about it, we have two more years until we’re 18, and we are going to be adults and will need to register to vote,” Buck said. “So I do feel like we need to learn about who’s running for office, who’s in office now, and we just need to be aware and cautious of what’s going on because two years from now we’re going to be able to participate and use our voice. So yeah, we need to be politically active.”

False information in the media is another reason why Generation Z finds it important to stay politically active. 

“Sometimes there can be misinformation and I have to find another source to find other information from, and if I’m politically active then I can teach other people about politics,”  Kalia Jacksin, sophomore, said.

Gen Z has made dramatic contributions to causes and changes such as Black Lives Matter, climate change, religious freedom and food and water security.

“From what I’ve seen, when a lot of people in Gen Z take stuff into their own hands, they can actually make a difference,” Ly said.