Georgia — Politics can be a weighty term and confusing due to the excessive negative media attention on politicians. Especially the fact that Gen Z left an impact during the 2022 midterm elections, with 55% believing that the current state of the country is headed backward, not forward, and that is telling due to voter youth turnout that potentially could change the course of the 2024 presidential election.
Could politics be approachable enough to be integrated into decision-making?
I am a part of Gen Z and actively support youth-related matters. My interest in politics began in sixth grade when my social studies teacher educated me about World War II and its horrific events. As I delved deeper into the subject outside of class, I became fascinated by various government operations. My teacher organized debates in our classroom, praising my public speaking skills and determination to bring about change. This led to the inquiry of whether I wanted to pursue a career in politics, but being only 12 at the time, I needed more understanding of what that entailed.
Upon arriving at my house that afternoon, I made it a priority to study the duties and obligations of a politician. With determination to avoid past mistakes, I felt compelled to take action. My personal experiences in foster care, adoption, and the flawed immigration system motivated me to pursue a career in politics. Above all, my main goal was to make a significant and beneficial impact within my community. I turned my passion into action by first campaigning for now U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff at the time of his congressional bid in 2017 and created an iMovie on why I, as a 14-year-old, believed he was the best candidate.
My political participation began by serving as a page at the Georgia state capitol, which allowed me to witness firsthand how the state government operates. This opportunity was made possible thanks to my 8th-grade social studies teacher, who suggested I take the role.
Joining a candidate's campaign in your community can also connect you with other field organizers who may be familiar with nonpartisan organizations that align with your civic engagement goals. Overall, starting out by getting involved in campaigning is valuable because it teaches you how to engage with your community and encourage them to participate in the election process.
Social media and networking events can also help young people find like-minded individuals and organizations with similar goals that they share. Utilizing social media to connect with leaders and reach out to people is how a single person can reach hundreds to thousands of people. Therefore, learning how to use social media wisely with purpose can help take your impact to the next level, and it’s about knowing how to harness social media to your advantage that counts.
There are numerous ways to engage in politics; the initial step is to have faith in yourself before taking action. By proactively connecting with groups aligning with your interests, you can boost your self-assurance when getting involved and gaining knowledge on participating in decision-making. As a result, building meaningful relationships and knowing how to maintain them can lead to opportunities for joining a supportive community. While becoming involved in politics may seem daunting, it doesn't have to be overwhelming if you remember that others will offer guidance and support.
Ashleigh Ewald (she/her/hers) is a Georgia-based journalist who attends Oglethorpe University. Follow her on IG: @ashleighewaldofficial.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett