Being young in America can sometimes seem like a twisted trick: with our adult lives just starting, the decisions that the government makes affects us disproportionally more than older generations. Yet, the decision-making power feels like it’s in the hands of older generations far more concerned with their own self-interests.
This sense of powerlessness pervades America’s youth. According to the Harvard Institute of Politics, only 20% of young people (aged 18-29) believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and only 29% believe that they have a say in what government does.
With 104 million Americans under the age of 24, that’s just wrong.
Luckily, some of our representatives in Congress are trying to do something to fix that. Today, a bipartisan coalition of senators introduced a resolution in the Senate supporting the establishment of a Presidential Youth Council, which would bring the voice of America’s youth directly to the oval office. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) are co-sponsoring the legislation, and they’re being joined by Senator Patty Murray, Senator Jeff Bingaman, and Senator Mark Begich.
If passed, the Presidential Youth Council would be made up of young Americans aged 16-24 with leadership experience in a federally funded program, outreach initiative, internship or fellowship, chosen by the President. This groundbreaking council would have three goals:
1) Bring issues relevant to the 104 million Americans under the age of 24 directly to the President and Congress, via grassroot listening sessions around the country.
2) Provide recommendations and innovative solutions for federal policies that will positively affect young Americans.
3) Create a forum where America’s youth can create their vision for the future. All solutions would require two-thirds of the Council’s members’ approval, making it truly representative of what America’s youth wants and needs.
The sponsoring senators are trying to exert pressure on Congress and the White House to get this passed ASAP, and as a young American, you can help. Head to presidentialyouthcouncil.org to tell your representatives in Congress that you want a say in the future of America. We don’t have a second to spare.