This story appears in the May issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.
Worldwide, young people (in this case, those aged ten to 24) number almost 2 billion and make up about 25 percent of the population, the highest ratio ever recorded. A group that large carries a strong voice, one that can set significant social and political change into motion. Young activists often provide the energy and passion to rally others, as they did in 2008 with a grassroots effort that mobilized voters and helped the Democrats take back the White House.
This movement was in part facilitated by the rise in social media, and its capacity to connect people and share information in real time. Reports show that 92 percent of teens go online daily, and nearly a quarter are online "almost constantly." This near-constant connection assures that news of planned actions won't be missed. In Boston, young activists have been using #bpswalkout to call thousands of students out of their classes and onto the streets to protest budget cuts and layoffs, forcing city leaders to reconsider the proposed cuts.
The world's youth have always found ways to stand up for what's right, and now with this relatively new digital tool at their fingertips, young people everywhere are increasingly organizing to make sure their voices are heard.