Written by: Tamara Manzer
When entering the youth movement, new young leaders are often passionate about influencing change, skilled in organizing, eager to do outstanding work, and curious about others’ perspectives. In reflecting on my personal experiences when starting at a youth organization, a few tips came to mind to highlight that may help other young people as you step into the work of advocacy + activism.
Determine what matters to you most – Tapping into your own lived experiences to find your ‘why.’ Your reason behind becoming a youth advocate + activist will surely give you a sense of purpose. Whether you choose to stand up against stigma or racial violence, trust in your story and lived experience to make it easier for you to outline a clear direction around the issues you would like to advocate for.
Envision a future for the change you want to see – Use your why to create a vision for what and how things can be different. Defining what you would like to accomplish in being part of the youth movement is a great way to tease out the action steps that you may take in your advocacy + activism journey as you set out to achieve your vision.
Identify organizations or spaces that you connect with personally – Do your research on who/where you can partner with to collectively push the work of the youth movement forward. Research can be browsing websites or social media, but it can also mean participating in calls to action and events, having conversations with other leaders, and joining councils or committees.
Whether you’re working at the local, state or national level there’s a ton of lessons to be learned by doing youth advocacy and activism. Learning from your experiences and others in this work is a critical piece of moving change forward. If you are interested in learning more about youth advocacy + activism check out these resources: