‘We’ve been through a lot, but we’ve got a lot more to offer!’
The following is a response from a 14-year-old Gen Z to Jeff Taylor’s Bridging the Gap essay in our July 2020 edition. Visit OutAndAboutNow.com/archives to view Taylor’s essay.
We are a generation who entered this world around 9/11 and are now entering young adulthood under a worldwide pandemic, an economic recession and racial strife. Think about that for a minute… We’re either starting high school or starting life as high school and college graduates (all sadly with no ceremonies celebrating our academic accomplishments), with no summer jobs, no summer camps, and low employment prospects. Yeah, I guess some Gen Zers will be living at home for a while longer.
For the most part, I agree with OG (Old Guy) Baby Boomer Jeff Taylor’s essay…that we can and should have better communication between Gen Z’s and Baby Boomers. Admittedly, we can sometimes be a little too absorbed with the new technologies, but it’s always nice to have my parents learn something from me for a change.
However, because we have been raised under the rapid development of new technologies and unique ways of communicating through social media, we are very conscious and aware of the world we live in, its problems, the challenges we now live under, and the beauty of a truly multi-ethnic and diverse society. This has allowed us to be both more accepting and understanding of different cultures, races, genders, transgenders and the LBGTQ community.
Despite some of the media misperceptions about our generation, we are deep thinkers, with thought-provoking beliefs. We will challenge traditional thinking because we care about our community, humanity, and the world we will eventually be running. But we want it to be a world where we can all live in peace, one where there is no more unlimited funding of war machines, when those dollars can better be served to eradicate disease, provide sustainable food, a living wage, health care and clean drinking water.
Oh yeah, even in the United States, where millions of kids go hungry every night, where health care is not available for everyone, and where cities like Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey unbelievably have undrinkable water systems. Sadly, these disparities were politically created and led by Baby Boomer policy makers.
We believe in the value of all marriages, racial justice for all people (including the African American, Native American, Latin American and Asian American communities), political and police reform, and a major plea to please do something about climate change.
Think about this for a minute: It took a 15-year-old Gen Zer, Greta Thunberg from Sweden, to lead an international discussion on climate change. It took a then 23-year-old in Congressman John Lewis to be a major contributor during the Civil Rights movements in the ‘60’s, up until the day he recently passed.
Together, with continued communication and the exchange of ideas between Gen Z’s and Baby Boomers, we will make an effective and prolific change in today’s world to build a better planet that we will one day inherit. We are the light of the world…and thank you Baby Boomers for holding the candle for us!
You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light . . . Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.
—John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
(Author’s name for A Word From Z not published at her request.)