Today’s update comes from Anastasia Young. Anastasia grew up on the south side of Chicago, and is now a Year Up Chicago student. She is interning with Human Resources at UBS.
“Get out and vote!” I used to hear this time and time again over the years, and I could never understand why. That is, until I decided to educate myself. I researched different politicians and issues that we as a people face in this country. I wanted to know what I could do to help. I learned that I could cast my vote.
I’ve always been the type of person to say that things need to change. What I realized is that if you want to create change, you have to take action. The people you elect are representing YOU. You not only have to vote, but you have to follow through. Here in Chicago, I wrote a letter to my alderman expressing my concerns about the lack of workforce programs in our area. I never expected to get a reply from the alderman’s office, let alone a summary of actions being taken to rectify this issue, but I did. I realized then that I was being represented in the best way.
By voting in this election, I plan to tell the politicians in office that they need to make sure young adults who don’t come from wealthy backgrounds still have a chance. Education is on the top of my priority list, and this is my chance to tell these officials that they need to fully address this issue.
Issues relevant to us as young adults are constantly being discussed during election debates and fundraisers. Pell grants and government assistance for college are at stake. There are so many decisions to be made in the next four years that will directly affect our lives and futures, and how tragic would it be if those decisions were made without any input from us, when we’ll live with their consequences?
Whatever you think needs to happen in order for you and your children to be able to have great futures, you must vote for those who will fight for these changes. Voting is caring about what’s going on in our very own lives.
In this election season, I encourage you to educate yourself. Research the candidates. Watch the debates and public speeches that they give. This is a wonderful opportunity to become educated about the issues we face today, and the issues that we will face in the future. Although the presidential election is extremely important, don’t lose sight of the elections that are so very close to home. Aldermen, congressmen and various forms of city council representatives count just as much.
There are about 45 million young people in this country who can cast their votes. That’s a lot of power. So, what are we waiting for?
You can register to vote today through Year Up’s TurboVote or through Rock the Vote.