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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators

The youth vote

Recognizing the need to make change by voting

By Naomi Wilbur, Ripon High School | May | June 2021
Over the past few years our society has seen the rise in youth involvement with politics and national issues because soon we will be the ones leading this country. This rise in involvement has come with the exposure to issues like climate change, human rights and social justice due to social media. With so many teens on social media, we are able to interact with each other and learn how we can help our own communities.
In June 2020 at the height of Black Lives Matter rallies and protests, thousands of teens showed up in support of the movement all across the nation. There were some communities that were completely supportive of the BLM movement happening in their area. There were also many towns, like mine, that wanted nothing to do with the social justice movement. I live in a small farming town in the central valley of California where the residents are very set in their ways and don’t recognize their privilege. While my friends and I attended the peaceful protest in our town, we received negative comments from classmates. But their comments didn’t affect us because we knew that the reason we were there was bigger than the negative press we were receiving from peers.
My friends and I knew that change had to be made, and what better way to make change than to vote. I am not of voting age yet, and it was so hard to sit back and not be able to actively make change by voting. So, we set up a voter registration drive at the BLM rally where people could register to vote, so they are already registered to vote in the next election. We registered people to vote in the 2020 election, which was crucial for our country to get back on track. It was a small gesture, but we registered many classmates that will now be able to vote in the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election. The most effective way to make change is to vote. The youth vote is going to be imperative during the next elections, and I am happy to have contributed to the youth of America getting out to vote.
Naomi Wilbur is a student at Ripon High School in the Ripon Unified School District.
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