Last week, it was reported that 72% of 18-24 year olds came out to vote in the General Election. The youth voice appeared to play a huge hand in the results, in which the Conservative Party lost their majority and culminated in a hung Parliament.
Young people were more engaged in this election and its results than I’d ever seen them before, having their say on politics and who they wanted to run the country. This probably had a lot to do with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, doing a great job in relating to young people and grime doing a stellar job of engaging young people.
However, young people began to find their own voice along the way and they were calling out for change on issues that effected them, because there are numerous factors effecting our lives that are intertwined with politics, even if we may not be interested in politics directly. This includes getting on the housing ladder, benefits, mental health services, policies to address violent crime, education and a whole lot more. We were stating that we want change.
Yet I must ask the question to all my young people out there, if you want change, what are you personally going to do about it? Yes, you may have made your voice heard by casting a vote in the election, which is great, but what part are you going to play in creating change in community and society?
After the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, which has brought austerity measures to the fore in the most tragic way, young people have not been silenced and the way everyone has united to come together has been amazing. On Twitter, I have seen numerous posts from young individuals demanding that the government and the “more powerful” individuals in society to be held into account, as austerity seems to have played a major part in this tragedy.
However, if we want to create real, lasting change then we as young people need to unite and do more than posting on Twitter, which some do and has definitely been the case during the Grenfell Tower incident, but it needs to be a much wider number. Let’s create programmes, initiatives and movements that will allow us to become the change we need to see. Let’s work together to challenge policies. Let’s come together to topple the system, because that is definitely at the heart of the problem.
More and more, I’m beginning to realise that wider society and the powers that be want to keep young people down, and keep us silenced. But if this election has taught me one thing, it is that we can’t, no, we refuse to be silenced anymore.
Young people are intelligent, clued up and full of potential, speaking raw, honest truth that is sometimes difficult for others to hear. Our elders could learn as much from us as we can from them, but they need to stop putting us down or brushing us off and take the time to listen.
However, we also need to do more to make them hear us and make more movements so that they will genuinely take us seriously. So keep making your voice heard, but shout louder. Keep tweeting, but also make movements away from the screen. Let’s do more to come together, and we can make real change happen.