MANAV DAVE is looking toward a hopeful future, thanks to the inspiration and action of the Gen Zs, and despite the challenges they face.
Take a second to think about this current moment in time. There is a lot to process. In the past two years alone, the Covid pandemic has managed to expose the cracks in our social, economic, and political systems, and has left us wondering whether there is anywhere left to go from here.
But the situation has also led to uncovering some very unlikely heroes. While the powers that be are combatting our problems with old and ineffective solutions, a new generation of heroes has emerged to create the world we deserve. Whether it is through harnessing the potential of the Internet and social media, or changing the frameworks and definitions of equity and equality, one thing is for sure: the next generation is ready to make change, and is not afraid to shake things up along the way.
From the youngest woman of color to serve in the American Congress, to the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize, this past decade has been full of firsts. Another important first to acknowledge is the Internet. From the first email sent in 1971, to Facebook in 2004, Instagram in 2010, and most recently, TikTok in 2016, this generation has been raised on the Internet and has managed to harness its potential to communicate effectively, and create and organize mass movements for change.
One of the first examples of technology bringing people together was Facebook during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak. Since then, the use of social media to mobilize change has become more effective, with Greta Thunberg using Facebook to encourage Fridays for Future climate strikes, and the rapid escalation and coming together during the Black Lives Matter movement. This generation uses the powers of technology to their advantage.
One thing is for sure:
the next generation is ready
to make change, and is not afraid
to shake things up along the way.
Gen Z, the group of people born from around 1995 to 2010, is said to have the highest diversity in terms of race, class, and gender identity. Combined with increased access to digital platforms, this has led to a generation that is changing the way we look at tolerance, equality, and equity. Some of the social issues that matter most to Gen Zs are equitable access to healthcare, racial equity, and climate change, showing a shift from a self-serving mindset to a humanitarian one.
This is not to say that this generation is without demons. The Internet comes with its own set of dangers, and Gen Zsare sometimes inhibited in their ability to form real-world connections and sustain the impact created by mass mobilization. Behavior trends like cancel culture and social media frenzy often make it difficult to understand the dimensionality of an issue and find a proper solution. If Gen Zs are truly going to bring change, they will need to channel their enthusiasm and passion, and also develop the maturity and depth of understanding required to create a long-standing, sustainable, and equitable impact.
From Greta Thunberg to Amanda Gorman to Malala Yousafzai, they are making strides in every area – environmental activism, art, racial equality, and education for all. They are ready to use what they have and know to bring a magnitude of change that has never been seen before. More importantly, they are hopeful, and not taking no for an answer.
To sum it all up, as Greta Thunberg said, “We can no longer let the people in power decide what is politically possible. We can no longer let the people in power decide what hope is. Hope is not passive. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is action.” And above all, what the next generation promises is hope for a better future.