June 15: March For Our Lives: Road to Change. Starting in a Peace March in Chicago, the students bused to 20 states and 75 cities to “get young people educated, registered, and motivated to vote.” They pointed out that more than four million teens turned 18 in 2018 and Jaclyn Corin said in email, “We know there is no better way to bring about change than voting.” They described their effort as “a youth-led movement on a mission to elect morally-just leaders.” (The simultaneous Poor People’s Campaign also emphasizes the morality issue.) Tactically savvy, they partnered with Rock The Vote, Headcount, NAACP and Mi Familia Vota, They encouraged students to form intersectional activist clubs in their schools based on relationship building. They sponsored a petition that got hundreds of thousands of signatures, created merchandize to buy, and reached out to partner with gun violence prevention organizations.[i] “Price tags” calculated the amount of money that politicians accepted from the NRA, state by state, to be printed out and displayed. The campaign’s specific goals are to create “a searchable database for gun owners; funding the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence so that reform policies are backed up by data; and banning high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles.”
Michel Tallon, age 52, observes that the Parkland students and their Gen Z “tribe” at first glance seems like “fully formed wizards” but then explains that they have lived with the threat of terrorism, mass shootings, and active shooter drills all their lives like growing up in a war. They’ve seen flawed racist and sexist adults who’ve allowed the planet to be polluted and inequality to increase. They were criticized as overly sensitive snowflakes who want safe spaces and trigger warnings and overly politically correct people who warn of white privilege and non-binary sexuality. Tallon predicts that Gen Z will always be “multiracial, non-binary, non-dogmatic, digitally native omnivorously curious,” as well as bigger than previous generations. But their lack of respect for adults motivates them to take action adults won’t take. As student David Hogg said, “Or parents don’t know how to use a fucking democracy, so we have to.” He added, “It’ is truly saddening to see how many of you have lost faith in America because we certainly haven’t and we are never going to. You might as well stop now because we are going to outlive you.”
Michael Tallon, “These Magic Kids,” Medium, March 25, 2018.
Michael Tallon, “These Magic Kids,” Medium, March 25, 2018
They somehow don’t seem real. They seem more like fully formed wizards who just popped into existence, as if the shooter who tore through their high school just showed up expecting sheep and found warrior-paladins instead.
But then it makes even less sense, because they aren’t just from Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida. They are kids from everywhere. And they keep demanding that the media recognizes that they are from everywhere. These kids, these magic kids, keep saying to the interviewers, GO TALK TO THE OTHER KIDS. GO TALK TO THE BLACK KIDS. GO TALK TO THE POOR KIDS. GO TALK TO THE LATINO KIDS.
Then, as happened time and again today, when the cameras finally turn to the black kids and the Latino kids and the poor kids, THEY talk about other kids.
This isn’t a story about Parkland, Florida and a really smart AP class with great prospects. It’s about a full-on generation shift that caught me, and I’m guessing you, totally by surprise. These magic kids are from EVERYWHERE. more online….
Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2000, has similar views to their older siblings and are also a large US generation. Their parents are Gen X. They’re also referred to as iGeneration, Gen Tech, Net Gen, Post-Millennials, Plurals, Homeland Generation, the Founders (to rebuild broken systems). They’ve always had technology like smart phones around them and teens are more likely to use them than watch TV. They’re less likely to use alcohol and drugs than older generations and have higher high school graduation rates than Millennials, according to Annie E. Casey Foundation research. Like Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, they want to be a force for good, but some studies say Gen Z is more conservative than Gen Y, and even more entrepreneurial. Older Gen Z’s grew up during the Great Recession; therefore, they value security and are pragmatic and entrepreneurial. Surrounded by technology since birth, they multitask but prefer face-to-face communication according to Deep Patel.[i] He views them as more individualistic, independent and competitive than the team-oriented Millennials.
A poll of 5,000 Gen Z university students reported that an empowering work culture is more important to them than salary and mentorship is important to them.[ii] They’re passionate about making the world better, including wanting to work for workplaces that give to their communities. Their top causes are equality, environmentalism, health, students, and poverty.
[i] Deep Patel, “8 Ways Generation Z Will Differ From Millennial in the Workplace,” Forbes, September 21, 2017.
[ii] Door of Clubs, “What 5,000 Gen Z’ers Tell Us About the Future of Work,” Medium.com, November 30, 2017.