Gen Z’s Duty: How to Be Civically Engaged


Abigail Felan

To devote ourselves to the future, Gen Z should make a commitment to civic engagement.

Abigail Felan, Staff Writer

For many people, the word “politics” drives them to look the other way or say that they prefer to not get involved. In reality, politics should not be something people avoid. With everything occurring in the United States, such as the presidential election and various protests, it is easy to pass up grave social issues as solely the negativity of the news and not something the general public should concern itself with. The problem with this is that the important topics that should be on everyone’s radar are not being discussed.

Since most high school students are not yet able to vote, they feel as if their thoughts do not matter. The truth is, everyone’s voices and opinions are vital to society. For example, a simple conversation with your friend about abortion laws could shed some light on new ideas and make the topic of birth control less awkward. Talking to your sister or brother about immigration policies could inform them about the rights that many immigrants deserve but are not granted. Finally, talking to a peer in your breakout room about the Black Lives Matter Movement could help raise awareness about systemic racism and the racial inequities that Black people face on a daily basis.

“It is necessary to be civically engaged, even as a minor. If our current political situation has taught us, as students, anything, it is that each vote counts. So often we see young peoples’ political affiliations being influenced by their families, and not by fact, which should not be the case. Our parents and grandparents are products of their generations, and their beliefs about voting are shaped differently than ours,” sophomore Marina Devine said.

Understandably, becoming civically engaged may seem like extra school work or unappealing to teens in general. The key to making civic engagement worthwhile is to search for what you find engaging. Going to a seminar about the climate crisis might seem boring to you, but doing some research on Instagram about the wildfires on the west coast could be eye-opening– it is all rather subjective, so finding your niche is essential in becoming civically engaged.

Even if you do not feel compelled to advocate for any national issues, you can still advocate for yourself and the issues that involve you. Anything from emailing the superintendent about your take on the policies for opening school, to tweeting the Secretary of Education that she should allocate more funding to the public school system counts as being civically engaged.

“I think we as teenagers need to realize that we are the future, and it is vital to know what is happening in the world around us,” junior Camila Ruiz said.

Everything seems to be a trend now– whether it is clothes, music, food or opinions. Civic engagement and being involved in your community can be trendy as well. There are many organizations on Instagram that are reaching out to Gen Z, since we are the next generation of eligible voters and activists. A simple way to get involved is just by following the following organization’s accounts to see what opportunities may come your way.

  • Power the Polls: an organization that Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Billie Eilish, Justin Timberlake, and Leonardo DiCaprio have all promoted. Their mission is to get a younger generation of polls workers to sign up and work the polls on election day. This is an incredible opportunity to help people vote and also earn money while doing so! If you would like to sign up to be a poll worker, visit @powerthepolls on Instagram and find out more information.
  • New Voters: a nonpartisan nonprofit that seeks to register high school students to vote through virtual voter registration drives across the country through various high school chapters. They are hosting multiple events regarding politics and civic engagement throughout the fall and to get involved, visit @newvoters on instagram.
  • SENDIT4THESEA: a nonprofit organization that is focused on environmental education and ocean/beach clean ups here in Miami. Their posts are informative of what is happening right here right now in terms of pollution and climate change. Their instagram handle is @sendit4thesea if you are interested in participating.

Being civically engaged is integral to the future of this nation. Getting a head start as a teenager can help you find your niche early and even spark a passion for a topic that you find interesting. By becoming informed now, it will not feel like a hassle to go vote or do important things for your community and country when you turn 18. It is never too late –or too early– to start being civically engaged.

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