There are a lot of things that youth could do to become involved in political campaigns. In the past, youth involvement has ranged from every traditional thing you can think of including volunteering, letter writing, attending rallies and meetings, door knocking, etc. to more current things like blasting messages out to friends on social media, wearing tshirts, making videos and all that. All of those are things that youth can do, and many presidential campaigns will share opportunities like that. Youth are a coveted voting and promotional demographic.
However, what I do is train young people and adults about adultism, which is bias towards adults. We help youth and their allies understand that adultism is inherent throughout the American political system, starting with the voting age, extending to the age of candidacy for many political offices, and reaching across every political issue on the landscape. Through workshops, publications and speeches, I train that youth under the age of 18 are routinely neglected by politicians. They aren’t seen as full citizens, their opinions aren’t treated as valid concerns, and their energy is generally tokenized and manipulated by candidates who will not fairly represent youth if they’re elected.
I do that because youth pay taxes. I do that because youth often fulfill their civic responsibility of obtaining an education. I do that because youth are full human beings from the day they are born, but are not treated as such until they are granted the right to vote (and not even then by some circumstances). I do that because young people under 18 make up 26% of the American population, and make up 0% of the voting population.
After all that, some adults, including politicians, wonder why youth don’t vote as soon as they can? The real surprise is that people whose economic, cultural, social and familial contributions are routinely neglected actually bother to show up ever once they can vote.
Through The Freechild Project, I help youth get involved by working with organizations that serve youth to help them understand how youth can be successfully involved in activities that empower them before they reaching voting age. I teach schools how to engage students so that when society expects them to become engaged in voting they actually will. I write books, articles and more to help spread the word. And I share things through Freechild every single day.
There’s a lot society can do to improve the situation, and I’d love to share some thoughts on that if you want to know.