What Global Citizen Taught Me About Today’s Era of Youth Activists

 

I attended the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York City.  At the festival, I was in the presence of some of today’s hottest artists, including Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, and the Weeknd. However, I was far from being the only one in my age group in attendance.

As I was walking through the festival grounds, I saw clumps of teenage girls excitedly snapping videos of the main stage. As I walked to find to my place, was stopped by a petite 20-something named Taylor. She is affiliated with an organization called Headcount, which registers people to vote at concerts and other music events.

“I’m very into music, and I’m just super passionate about people taking advantage of our right to vote,” Taylor said after I inquired about her interest to participate at this festival.

At first, I found it rather surprising that Taylor was there: Why are people registering to vote at a musical festival?

But then, I remembered the premise of the GC festival: to end world poverty by 2030. This goal is achieved through interactive actions taken on a straightforward Global Citizen app, by sending emails to local politicians or sending tweets in order to gain points. When a user accumulates a set number points, participants have the chance to win tickets to a free, star-studded music festival.

Global Citizens premise is so simple, so tangible for anyone who wants to make positive change without experience any last minute reservations.

“The fact that our generation uses social media, a platform much more cohesive for us than for some of the older generations, in a way, frees us from the influence of preceding generations,” said Pamela Beniwal, a 17-year-old high school senior and Global Citizen Festival attendee. “Social media allows us to interact with people our own age and learn their opinions on social justice, rather than parroting what our parents may say about current controversial issues.”

In the past, it could be believed that youth have been afraid to become affiliated with social action and advocacy groups, with the fear that it is only for “old” people, it is not “cool,” or it is not easy to make a difference. However, Global Citizen’s philosophy completely challenges those long-held beliefs. Through an easy to use app, a strong social media presence, and the immense support from some of the world’s most popular artists and performers, potential festival goers are excited to be a part of a movement that will foster social mobility and social equality in our society.

“I think it’s really good that [celebrities are] putting themselves out there trying to help the world make a change,” said Imani Fernandez, a high school sophomore from New York City.

“It’s an important way by doing something that great you get to see amazing artists,” her friend, Chloe French, chipped in.

After the festival, I have concluded that Global Citizen has been taken all of the necessary steps in order to promote youth participation. In today’s era, teens and young adults respond to social media, easy-to-use apps, and the influence of social media. In today’s era, youth are also doing remarkable things to change the world. Even if Shawn Mendes was one of the reasons why thousands of teen girls flocked to Central Park that day, one cannot dispute the success of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival: At the end of the festival, it was reported that 2.1 million actions were taken to end world poverty, set to affect the lives of 254 million people by 2030. and this would not have been achieved without the immense support of the younger generation.

To learn how you can take a stand to end world poverty, check out Global Citizen at https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/take-action/

 

Perri Easley

Perri Easley, 18, is currently a senior at the Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey. She is a two-term president of her school’s Social Justice Board and French Club. She is a lifelong member of Morris County Jack and Jill, a leadership and service-based organization, and serves as the Senior Teen Group Marketing Officer. Furthermore, she has served on the Cornerstone Family Program's Junior Board for two years. Perri spent the summer of 2017 in Rennes, France, and also her Spring Break of 2018 in Nantes, France, to soak up the culture and improve her fluency. She loves reading, listening to music, traveling, photography, and documentary filmmaking in her spare time.

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