To our readers,
Welcome to “The Election Guidebook: Divided States of America.”
We created this issue in light of the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. And though its title is rooted in the divisive nature of our country, it is not meant with pessimism. The goal of this issue is to redefine the American Dream––we are better together.
As always, GEN-ZiNE strives to cultivate community, compassion, curiosity, and critical thought within the members of our generation. We know that not everyone will turn to public service or office as their line of work––but it is possible to enact change wherever you are, and it starts here with you.
Generation Z has been raised in a post 9/11 world, riddled with fear, anxiety, and extreme surveillance. We grew up too quickly, losing our peers to frequent mass shootings at school. We have come of age during Donald Trump’s presidency where bigotry, sexism, racism, and hatred were publicly normalized and redefined the perception of America. And all the while, the threat of climate change looms overhead. These are the moments that defined the formative years for our generation. They have shaped the way we approach and perceive the world.
We know how to raise our voices and make noise, we know how to advocate for the issues we care about, and we know how to stand up for what we believe in. We have witnessed the Parkland survivors lead a movement for gun safety. We have protested for racial justice. The face of climate activism is a 17-year-old girl. We have turned our pain into purpose, and that is our biggest inspiration. We’ve been on the front lines before––but will we show up when we are called to this new battleground?
We are at an intersection in time where old order splits into a new order––what will we create?
As many of us are eligible to vote for the first time, in fact, 24 MILLION Gen Z’ers are eligible to vote––it is time for us to mobilize and be more informed now than ever before. This issue of GEN-ZiNE documents history. It documents how tenacious we were to make a change and elect the future that we want to see and be a part of. This zine is an educational tool, with its lessons being taught peer to peer. We’ve come together to discuss and understand our governmental system, the constituents of America, and how we can do our part to get our ballots to the mailbox. #SaveThePostOffice.
In a world filled with so much hatred, divisiveness, chaos, and trauma, it’s easy to want to give up. To succumb to deep-rooted history. To ask, “does my vote even matter?” But progress and change do not happen overnight (though I hope it will on November 3rd). It is a slow burn, but we can create the world that we want to live in––and that we want future generations to live in.
But above all, civics is love. And it comes from a place of hope, community, and the search for something greater than thyself. The push to November 3rd is just the start of our journey as engaged citizens. The permanence of civic engagement is a part of our DNA, not a one-time thing. This is the greatest inflection point for both our nation and for ourselves. In our late teens and early twenties we constantly ask ourselves, “who am I, who do I want to become, and why am I here?” In a society riddled with individualism, I implore you to take a step back and to not just consider, but to act upon our greater community––America’s future. Systemic change is a habit that we must inaugurate into our lives starting with this upcoming election. Let the energy that surrounds your hopes and your dreams, your fears, and your anxieties channel into a single starting point––your vote.
See you at the polls–ish.