By Abigail Ryan
Politics has long been viewed as an activity delegated for mature community members who possess a deep history within their community. In the past, youth have been disengaged as a result of this process. Fast forward to the double-take elections and inauguration of President Barack Obama. Politics is increasingly being viewed as an opportunity to have our voices heard as our civic duty is carried out.
Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League, led a cohort of civic minded individuals prepared to serve the community live and direct on Capitol Hill as the National Urban League hosted its annual Legislative Policy Conference April 9-11, 2013. This exciting and energetic event is focused on NUL staff, members, young leaders, and supporters partnering up to serve in an active role in Washington, DC. An opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from across the country was another value added to the conference.
The annual goal is a contribution of far more than a vote each election year, which of course, we should all be doing. As we know, all of our votes do count. However, do we truly know how much our participation counts? By attending the NUL LPC, participants collectively made their voice heard. This three-day event was meant to invigorate, and prepare the next generation of leaders to engage in discourse with congressional representatives.
Locally, political elections generally do not get as much media coverage or community engagement. However, there is room for change. As we anticipate the election of a new NYC Mayor in 2013, we must all think of what is most important to our local community and believe that collectively we can improve our neighborhoods. Particular attention will be given to millennials who share first hand experience of massive political engagement in 2009 and again in 2012. Likewise, all city residents must take time to learn about the numerous seats that are up for re-election in their respective districts. Local politicians are tasked with the job of advocating for their respective communities. Conversely, congressional politicians address federal policies that affect us all nationwide. With the growing trend of younger community members finding their voice in politics; comes a new sense of responsibility.
When our communities are engaged and working towards a clearer vision for the future, our lives, as well as the lives of our youth will be enriched. With that said, it’s time to get informed, involved, and engaged.
For more information on the Policy Institute, click here.
About the Author, Abigail Ryan
Abigail Ryan has been a member of the National Urban League since 2007. She is a certified mediator, community volunteer and a communications professional/photographer. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org.