Young People Politically Engaged
By Manny Otiko
California Black Media
With one of the most important midterm election less than five weeks away, a new survey shows that young Californians are fired up and ready to head to the polling booth.
The poll, which was conducted by public policy consulting firm Evitarus, showed that young Californians were politically active and engaged in political events. The survey quizzed more than 2,000 Californians aged 16-24. Seventy percent of them were people of color. The poll was funded by the California Endowment and Power California, an organization that encourages young people from underrepresented communities to vote.
“The midterm election will be my first time voting. This is a very significant milestone because I finally have the opportunity to make my voice heard. Our voices are not considered when decisions are made,” said Eugene Vang, a youth volunteer with 99Rootz from Merced, according to a press release.
Here are some of the findings:
- 82 percent of young people said voting made a difference.
- 88 percent of the young people surveyed said they had discussed political issues with friends and family members.
- 58 percent had volunteered in their community and 29 percent had participated in a march or protest.
The poll findings go against the popular opinion of young people being self-obsessed individuals who are glued to their cell phones.
“Young people in California care about social issues and are engaged with politics,” said Luis Sanchez, co-executive director of Power California. “It’s up to adults to find strategies to engage and educate these young people who care about voting but have not been mobilized to vote. We can’t afford to ignore the emerging electorate and their unique politics.”
Another interesting finding from the poll was the fact that 48 percent of young people have posted their political opinions on social media. This shows that many young people see social media as not just a plaything, but an important tool for expressing their political views.
Black Lives Matter owes much of its success to social media. The organization was born five years ago after the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. According to Pew, the blacklivesmatter hashtag, created after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Martin, has been retweeted more than 30 million times.
The Evitarus poll stated that one in two young Californians surveyed identifies with BLM.