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Inspiring Youth Leaders

Inspiring Youth Leaders to Take Political Action in the United States

By Eleanor M.

 

Background

Leaders in the United States are getting older and older.  In the United States—as of December 2016—the average age for a member of the House is 57.0 years, and 61.0 years for members of the U.S. Senate (Manning 2).  Though this might seem to be just a fraction of the many political leaders in America, there is a pattern of older leaders having control of political positions in the U.S.

What’s more, Millennials and Generation Z (the colloquial name given to those born in the twenty-first century) made up nearly 60% of the US population in 2013 (Trevelyan et al. 9), comprising an even greater number today.

 

 

“Why does this matter?” you might ask.  Well, there is, in fact, a major difference in the views of younger people and older generations, especially in the United States.  According to a New York Times editorial from 2012, “The young… favor gay marriage and school funding more strongly [than older generations]; they are also… more positive toward immigrants… and more optimistic about… [America’s] future.”  According to a report on the beliefs of young people published by the Public Religion Research Institute, 59% of young folk believe that America’s best days are in the future, as opposed to slightly more than half in the general population.  

In combination, these differences mark a significant divide between the less optimistic, more “traditional” older generations, and the more hopeful and progressive younger generations.  The fact that the most powerful political positions in the US are held almost exclusively by people from older generations means that the values of younger people are not prioritized, and change will only take place on the terms of older leaders whose opinions are often drastically different than the younger people who will inherit the world when they are gone.

 

 


My Take

Young people make up an increasingly large part of the global population, but if they don’t raise their voices, older generations will continue to make decisions that impact our lives without our input.  I believe that in order for the United States and the world in its entirety to succeed, young people must speak out and take political action.

For my Catalyst Conference project, I decided to write a song to inspire youth leaders to take action.  Titled “Now Is The Time”, the composition is meant to encourage young people to take a stand for what is right and speak out on behalf of what they believe in.

Songwriting process

Before I even knew what I wanted to write about, I had an idea for a catchy melody for the chorus, as well as some thoughts about the first verse.  I hastily wrote some lyrics without really thinking about the emotions behind the melody, but they didn’t feel right.  I then started thinking about what emotions the composition made me feel: the word I kept coming to the most was “inspired.”  I’m very passionate about political issues and decided that writing a song related to inspiring future leaders would fit the melody I had created.  Here are the final lyrics I ended up using:

All our leaders are from another generation,

with different views than those of us under the age of 

eighteen we’ve got so much more

time left, so many things to fight for,

too many problems we can’t ignore. 

 

The world is tangled up in knots, problems abound

It’s time to call for action, time to make a sound

 

Well now is the time

to make the change that you want to see

This mount you must climb

if you want our world to succeed.

Don’t take your time

be the hope in which you believe.

It’ll all be alright

if you stand up for what is right you’ll see.

 

Take a stand, let’s show the world what we’re made of

Speak out, can’t wait ’till tomorrow, we must wake up!

For those who lead us just don’t care,

It’s time for us ourselves declare!

 

That now is the time

to make the change that we want to see

This mount we must climb

if we want our world to succeed.

We can’t take our time

let’s be the hope in which we believe.

It’ll all be alright

if we stand up for what is right we’ll see.

 

That now is the time

to make the change that we’ve gotta see

This mount we will climb

we’re gonna make this frail world to succeed.

We won’t take our time

we’ll be the hope in which we believe.

It’ll all be alright

we will stand up, we’ll make it right, you’ll see.

You’ll see!

 

 

Recording/Editing Process

I used Noteflight to compose my song, and Garageband as my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, an interface used to record and edit music).  I sang the part myself and used software for the piano part and drums.  If you’re interested in learning more about how I went about creating my song, here is a link to the blog I made to chronicle those experiences.

 

 

Finished Song

 

 

 

 

 


Leading in My Community

This project has inspired me to endeavor to become a leader in my own community.  I am going to run for student council at my school to try and make sure that the voices of the student body are being heard.  I want to help improve my community, and I can start by trying to make positive change within my school.

 

 

 

 

 

 


TAKE ACTION

You don’t have to be an adult to lead, young people have many opportunities to lead if they just take charge.  Whether it be in a formal setting like student council, a youth advisory board, or a student-run club, or in a more informal setting within a friend group or in class, you have the power to make your voice heard and change the world.

 

The Padlet below is a space where anyone is free to post an issue facing their community or a pledge to take action as a leader.  Additionally, if people have ideas as to how to combat issues that others are facing, or just want to offer support, they are also more than welcome to post or reply to the posts of others.  My hope is that this space will serve as a catalyst for change in some way, even if it just means that one person comes away with a renewed sense of empowerment, or with a small solution to a problem they face.  Post away! 🙂

Made with Padlet

 

 

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COMMENTS: 3
  1. April 27, 2018 by brendan.gill

    Beautiful song! Incredible vocals. I always think of youth leaders when I see videos like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JCm5FY-dEY

  2. April 27, 2018 by brendan.gill

    Beautiful song! The vocals are incredible. Whenever I see this dominos video I think of youth leaders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JCm5FY-dEY

  3. April 27, 2018 by Kamal.Fakhoury

    Thank you so much for an important message. I think we as youth can make progress, and we should strive for that.
    Also, greattt song. The vocals are amazing.

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