Hope, think about it for a second. What actually is hope? Why do the folks in power tell us we have none? I find it very problematic when the generation that is on their way out makes it harder for the generation on its way in. We are the “Millennials” a lost generation, caught up in the world of social media and technology, a vulgar, uncouth group of rabble rousers up to no good. Well you know what I kind of like how that sounds. For us common misconceptions are innumerable like these 5 things Millenials don’t know the meaning of, shockingly it is older folks with more conservative tendencies who write/think this. If you were to ask me as a member of Generation Y, we have just as good if not better of a chance to make this world a better place to live. All we really have to do is think beyond the confines that we are stuck in and think big.
Thinking big for my generation is not hard, we have never been ones to be confined by “realistic goals” but we still understand the importance of real solutions. Visionaries some would call us, others might call us reckless; regardless of the moniker just imagine a world void of inequalities be it racially, by gender or due to class, is that hard to imagine? Not for me and many others around the same age as me. It is not impossible to think that we could eventually live without Racist Mass Incarceration or Sexist Unequal Pay for Women or Violence against LGBTQ members. None of these have to be a stark reality any longer unless we choose to. What if instead of intolerance we chose acceptance. What if we no longer acquiesced to the status quo? What if we defined a new and healthy democracy where no voice is marginalized and no one is forgotten.
In order to create a healthy representative democracy we must first change the consciousness of the youth and other marginalized groups to stop believing in the status quo. It no longer has to be that the ruling class in this country have to be rich old white men but that starts with us. To add to that I believe these five tenets of democracy are very important for progress:
1.) Love:Where would we be if we all just loved each other? Love works because last time I checked love never killed anyone, put anyone in jail or shut anyone up: hate did. Once we figure out that no matter where we come from, how we were raised or what side of the political spectrum we vote on we are all very similar. And when that day comes real democracy will reign supreme.
2.) Education: One of the most important aspects of a real democracy is a quality education. An education that preps you beyond basic math and reading although both are important but more is required. An education that will prepare everyone for but not limited to civic engagement, fiscal responsibility and helping to debunk the myth that politics is only relevant during elections. Those were just a few of what we need to add but it is important because it will create critically thinking people who will truly engage in society.
3.) Economic Justice: “Equal Opportunity does not mean Equal Outcome” yes this true in a fair economy. Our current economy is not fair to the poor, people of color, ex-prisoners and other marginalized groups. Sadly most of the poor people in our economic system will remain poor and so will their kids, prisoners who may have been wrongly incarcerated will never be hired and for identifying as LGBTQ you run the risk of being fired or not even getting the job. To end this injustice we must demand an end to a system that makes the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. Only way to do that is by no longer accepting denial to human needs such as housing, food, water and stop accepting bread crumbs as liberation. That means no longer looking at one shining example of success or the exception to the system but understanding that the ruling elite only want you to know about success in order to forget the incredible injustice done to the rest of society.
4.) Food and Water: This is the most vital for any real democracy because in no true “free world” does death via hunger or dehydration exist. We have to reevaluate our priorities when an Abundance of Food Exists in the US but over 40% food in the US gets thrown out which could feed 25 million people. On top of that in “developed countries” over 10 million people lack an access to water. That being said healthy has been used in abundance throughout this piece but it goes way beyond the abstract concept of “healthy” but instead it should come to mean that a “healthy” democracy intentionally aids its constituency to be healthy physically. By providing food that isn’t junk and making food deserts an issue of the past then by also securing water for everyone regardless of financial standing.
5.) Liberation of thought: We must free ourselves from the thoughts of the ruling class and this is paramount to the creation of a healthy democracy. We must become conscious beings and see the world not through the rose colored lenses of those in power but through our own liberated eyes. This concept is the bread and butter of the world we want. When we are liberated we find it no longer secondary to love, settle for economic injustice, struggle for food or for education it becomes the reality of everyday life.
Now comes the part for solutions, specifically for North Carolina (here comes the myriad of hyperlinks). North Carolina is in a wonderfully horrid place we know this because of articles like this. This mess did not just fly under the radar it was met with some real opposition from various groups. Groups fighting for Love, Education, Economic Justice, Food/Water and all of these groups are working to liberate people of their chains. North Carolina’s resistance started with NAACP on April 30th which would later become “Moral Monday” and NCSPU on May 1st these events sparked a massive fight back against the awful legislation coming out of Raleigh. The NAACP continues its tour of NC to this day to ensure that the movement doesn’t die because the end of the legislative session. Though this is not an exhaustive list groups doing great work here in NC they include: NC Vote Defenders, Democracy NC, Planned Parenthood and the Latin American Coalition. You should look into all of them as they are all very amazing and powerful people to work with.
These groups are doing amazing work and have been instrumental in the awesome resistance that happened this summer but they all are filled with grown-ups with grown up interests. Where is the group of students and young people who can tackle these issues? Well, none other than your friendly neighborhood North Carolina Student Power Union. We are an intersectional group that in recent years has been fighting for tuition equity and student representation in decision making processes in Universities. We had an amazing campaign around the budget cuts to higher education but we also stood against the racist voter ID laws, Anti-choice abortion bills, environmental degradation and supported the labor struggle. I can definitively say we are the only grassroots youth organization that is doing powerful intersectional work. With that being said we still need support from as many folks as possible to start up a campaign to put an end to the waterfall of evil bile spewing out of Raleigh.