Gabriela Enamorado/Staff Writer
Voting is obviously a hot topic right now because of the incoming Presidential election. All anyone talks about is the importance of voting. Of course, it’s a very important process of our government, but participating in voting is the bare minimum we should be doing. If we really want to see a change in our communities, we shouldn’t stop at voting. Our electoral system is flawed and we can’t always rely on the people we vote into office to change things for us.
Voting right now is good for damage control. If I’m being honest, neither presidential candidate really appeals to me this time around but I recognize that voting is important to make things a little less bad, and I will be casting a ballot. But, we need to take a look at what to do beyond that.
Our leaders, regardless of political party, are not perfect. Most of the time, it’s up to us to really make a difference. Waiting around for government officials will take too long. We have to take matters into our own hands.
Electoral participation should be our gateway to a longer and better relationship with civic engagement. Too many people are living an individualistic way of life when we should be acting more collectively. We need to start thinking about others and not only care about ourselves.
You should be the change you want to see in your community. Wherever you see something that needs to be worked on, look up and see how you can help.
Host forums where members of your community can reach out about their concerns. These can be held through Zoom. These types of events help bring awareness to concerns of the people around you that might get ignored by elected officials, especially those from marginalized communities.
Another idea is to help educate your community. Forming your own club is a great way to do this. I’m currently in the process of forming a book club that focuses on social and economic justice. Education is inaccessible to many people, and doing this would be an amazing opportunity for those who cannot afford it.
Getting involved in organizations in your community is something that everyone should try and do now or after the election. Organizing within your community is essential to change. One of my favorite organizations in South Florida is Dream Defenders. Dream Defenders has branches in Broward and Miami-Dade county, and focuses on racial justice and defunding the police.
For LGBT+ issues, I like Equality Florida. They are dedicated to securing full equality for LGBT+ Floridians through education and grassroots organizing. Look up organizations that align with your beliefs and get to work.
Young people especially, should take this opportunity to be the change they want to see in our community. We are the future and we need to take action. We’re often neglected or brushed off during the political process. We aren’t taken seriously. But, we can be direct with making change if we really want to.
Protests and other forms of activism have been organized by younger people much more in 2020 than in past years. We’re already doing amazing things. If we work hard and get out there, there’s little we can’t do.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash.