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Young people: Stay engaged

Posted 6/11/20

Peaceful protests have continued across the nation and in our backyard. It is truly a beautiful thing to see people across multiple generations gather together in an effort to use their First …

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Young people: Stay engaged

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Peaceful protests have continued across the nation and in our backyard. It is truly a beautiful thing to see people across multiple generations gather together in an effort to use their First Amendment rights to try and bring about positive change.

In less than two weeks since protests started, New York lawmakers passed an anti-chokehold bill named for Eric Garner; Minneapolis has banned the use of choke holds, charges have been upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices have been arrested and charged; Dallas has adopted a “duty to intervene” rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force; New Jersey's attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades; Maryland lawmakers announced a police reform work group; and Police brutality captured on cameras has lead to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).

These are just a few examples of change.

It has been a nice sight to see so many engaged young people organizing protests and becoming voices for change. However, speaking as our young editorial staff, our generation needs to do more.

This November is another important election year, and it's important the young generation, no matter their party or candidates they support, exercise their right to vote. This is a right many nations do not have and that many fought for to ensure that we have them.

According to Forbes Magazine, “Historically, about 55 percent of Americans have voted in presidential elections. Youth voting levels have been much lower than that for decades. In US presidential elections, about 70 percent of voters 60 and up have turned out—which is nearly three times the rate of Americans between 18 and 29.”

That's simply unacceptable.

In addition to voting, we encourage our generation to seek out CREDIBLE sources of news. As a newspaper which has proudly served the community for 130 years, we aren't looking to toot our own horn, but we're aware from interactions with our friends and younger family members that more and more people are turning to social media and/or he said/she said gossip to try and get the “facts” on a situation.

Most of these alleged “sources” are unchecked and unreliable.

Attendance and engagement in your local towns, villages and county legislature is also key. When we attend meetings, most of the time it's just us and members of the board.

It could be said that all people, regardless of age, need to do better at staying informed about local politics.

Not only should you be reading articles by multiple news sources, but you should also take advantage of videos of meetings that are posted online, if your schedule doesn't allow you to attend in person.

While public comment isn't required by law in New York State, many towns, villages and the county offer it. Take that opportunity to let your voice be heard.

And when election season rolls around, run for an elected position. Sometimes change can be brought about quicker from the inside out than the outside in.

If young people don't vote and remain disinterested about county and village/town politics, the momentum generated by these protests will quickly dissipate.

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