The political involvement of Gen Z Students, soon to be a powerful voting block

Lisa Yeung

Staff Writer

What they consider political involvement: 

Kashish Banya (12)- “I would say it’s just about getting into it [politics] with the right mindset and not doing it as a trend and you’re doing it for a good cause and keeping up with the world so you are not left behind.”

Agastya Gaur (10)- “I think somebody who votes, they make informed decisions while voting, they don’t just vote based on what they’re hearing off the news. They do their own research and try to form their own opinions. People who actually go out and protest and do things if they feel something’s not being done right in the country. I think those people are politically informed.” 

Sage Madison Remo (12)- “I think for people at our age (high school), since a lot of us can’t vote…umm.There’s a lot of student led organizations like Gen Up and Fremont BASTA (Bay Area Student Activists) and there’s plenty of other ones. I think involving yourself in at least one organization and doing your part in educating yourself and other people on these issues. I consider that political involvement for young people…Being an activist and proactively speaking out and advocating for organizations.” 

Whether watching the news/protesting is involvement: 

Kashish Banya (12)- “I would definitely think that watching news is political involvement because most of the news channels give you accurate information and it’s very important for us to be updated about what goes on and I have not been to a protest. I have watched the news, though. I do watch news.”

Agastya Gaur (10)- “I personally haven’t gone to a protest. There really aren’t any protests or anything that I’m interested in going in right now… I definitely do watch the news a lot. I try to make my own opinions about what’s going on right now. In three years when I get the chance to vote, I’ll have a good idea on what’s going on and I’ll be able to make better decisions.”

Sage Madison Remo (12)- “I think that watching the news can be part of political involvement… I think that going to a protest is definitely political involvement. I know that it’s not necessarily possible for everyone, like some people aren’t allowed to go or it’s unsafe for them, so that’s completely understandable. There’s ways to be an activist online and not have to go in person to things. I think both of those are big factors in being an activist or being just very present and using your voice and platform for talking about political issues.”

Ways they are politically involved:

Kashish Banya (12)- “If I see something that needs to be heard, I share it in my social media stories and stuff. I share with my friends. I talk about it with my family to make them aware about what’s going on. I just watch the news and keep up with it on social media too.”

Agastya Gaur (10)- “As of now, nothing really much then keeping up with the information that’s going out. That’s really all I can do at the moment. I definitely plan to be a lot more involved as I grow up, as I go into college, maybe join an activist group, do a lot of voting. As of now, I’m really just keeping up with the stuff that’s going on.”

Sage Madison Remo (12)- “In terms of online activism, I try to spread resources. I donate money personally to organizations that I find online, and I try to encourage other people, friends and family, to donate or educate themselves on things, and I have very in-depth discussions with people close to me and people around me about politics and global issues.”

Causes important to them:

Kashish Banya (12)- “A lot of causes are very important. Donating to underdeveloped countries for feeding children who need it. Black Lives Matter movement.” 

Agastya Gaur (10)- “I think that I want to see this country move further towards being a democracy rather than an oligarchy. I want to see all the corruption, like lobbying and super PACs, I want those rooted out. I want to see this country move more economically left as well, like providing universal health care, start nationalizing industries… I’m definitely hoping that as I grow up, I could take a more active stance and bring that future on right now.”

Sage Madison Remo (12)- ”I’ve been more heavily involved and concentrated on environmental activism. I stopped eating beef because I want to reduce my own carbon footprint. My friend and I had a bracelet brand for a couple years where we hand make bracelets and give all the money to environmental charities…And then a lot of education system stuff. With GenUp I’ve spoken at a couple board meetings, to reform some of the propositions in favor of the people in general suffering from the pay cuts, the salary cuts, SROs on campus and stuff.”

What they consider making a difference: 

Kashish Banya (12)- “It’s not about changing someone’s political views I guess, you still have to respect it in a way. There’s still right and wrong in an opinion, so I think if we just make them realize something is wrong, I think that’s making a difference. Just anything, honestly, even if you donate something to a good cause, I think it’s still making a difference.”

Agastya Gaur (10)- “Making a difference is doing anything you can. If you’re voting, you’re making a difference by getting your opinion out. If you’re going to a protest, you’re making a difference because you’re getting your opinion out. In any way you can go and make yourself heard to whoever and to society, the government, or even just in your community, that’s definitely making a difference in the world that you are in and maybe for the entire world as well.”

Sage Madison Remo (12)- “I think it’s difficult to say… I think that when people donate, whether it’s money or time or energy towards a certain cause in whatever way they can, whether that’s going to a protest or hosting a fundraiser or volunteering or just posting online. I think that that’s still making a difference. I think that as individuals our efforts still matter…the way we act will affect how others around us act as well.”

What they do to make a difference:

Kashish Banya (12)- “Giving out information to my family and friends and my sister. My mom and sister are still in Nepal and they don’t really keep up with what goes on here and stuff. So I let them know about all that [is going on in America]… During the Black Lives Matter with Breonna Taylor, what happened to them, and we had this whole petition, I signed all those [petitions]… Small things matter I think.” 

Agastya Gaur (10)- “I do a lot of volunteering. I tutor classes. I teach a lot of stuff. I tutor about Hindu classical music. I tutor math. I tutor speech and debate. I’ve done a lot of community service as well, though that’s probably just for the hours. As of now, that’s what I’m doing. As I grow up, I’m definitely going to go into a lot more stuff to make a difference.”

Sage Madison Remo (12)- “I did a bracelet brand… We would make handmade bracelets and we never kept any of the profits. We always donated the profits to the Red Cross, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy. We raised over $400 for those organizations. I help GenUp host the registration drive here at American.”

Kashish catches up with the news and watches Governor Newsom’s new announcements on the Coronavirus pandemic.

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