Craze Managing Editor
With new political issues surfacing every day, it can be a struggle to navigate the turmoil. Social media, while a staple in our lives, is polarizing. Every week, there’s a new hashtag or protest, so knowing where you stand can be difficult. To ensure your voice is heard, you can take some of these actions to make a difference.
Social studies instructor Bob Brousek said that he supports student activism and believes that it can allow for a learning opportunity as well.
“I support students being active and demonstrating their constitutional rights,” Brousek said. “I think as students learn about the democratic process and citizens’ role in the democratic process, they find through the rights of petitioning and protesting that they can make their voice heard to their elected officials. I think that’s a positive thing, and part of the social science and social studies curriculum is to prepare our students to be active and engaged citizens and so therefore, if a student or group of students feel that their voice needs to be heard, I think that that is a positive thing to encourage and to support.”
Brousek also said he believes that effectiveness through protesting all depends on the students and how much effort they pour into the event.
“An effective protest is one that shows that there has been organization,” Brousek said. “There has to be a form of organization so that there is numbers. It depends on the direction of where the protest’s audience is, purpose, level of organization. Those would be three things right off the top of my brain that I think would be essential to begin to evaluate whether a protest is effective.”
Sometimes we hear that as teenagers we can’t make a difference in the world, but the reality is we have more power than we think we do. So the next time you’re motivated to take political action, take a deep breath and remember you have options. The youth of America is the future of America, and we have the power to make a change.
By paying attention to the news, you can better understand the issues, evaluate how you should take action and form well-rounded opinions on whatever is happening. Don’t forget to stay open-minded; looking at both sides of the story will only better your understanding of the issue. There are many ways you can do this. Listen to political podcasts, pay attention to news sources, and even read books to gain insight and keep yourself updated. It’s easy to access these sources on any device. If you can pay attention to what’s going on in the world, you will have a more informed and intelligent opinion.
For every cause, there’s an organization to give to. But before you start emptying your wallet, do some research — where will your money really be going? The internet is a good place to start, and you won’t have to go far to find a charity. Find an organization that supports a cause you believe in, and volunteer or give money to it. It doesn’t need to be a billion dollars or hours, even pocket change can make a difference. Just a few crinkled bills from your piggy bank and a few hours out of your Saturday afternoon can make an impact.
If you can’t vote, you can be active within your local government by calling your representatives. One of the luxuries of living in America is our ability to reach out to the government. Calling your elected officials is one of the best ways to get their attention. Your call is tallied, and can form a petition that can get the attention of your legislature. Make your representative aware that people care about the issue. When an issue arises that your representative can influence, call their office. There are also programs online that can help you contact representatives by mailing or faxing them. Your voice has power, so use it!
Omaha’s representatives are:
Don Bacon – House Representative (District 2)
Benjamin Sasse – Senator
Deb Fischer – Senator
On your 18th birthday, you gain the right to vote in America. Registering to vote is simple and can be done at the DMV or even online. Traditionally, young people who have just become a part of the voting population have the lowest turnout in elections. Voting is your say in the government, so failing to vote means forfeiting your role.
Go to a protest. If you post on social media, don’t just raise awareness, but give people resources to take action. Use your platform for good and motivate others to make a move. Bringing an issue to light is the least you can do. Starting a conversation or even having constructive debates can enhance people’s understanding of current issues and inspire them to do something about the world’s injustices.