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Civil and Human Rights Fellows Tackle Generational Differences

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Robi Roberts, 17, Grady High School

Our generation is the greatest generation because we can communicate faster than ever before. Through social media we can connect with people faster. We can put the changes we want to see out there and make these changes possible. We can help people who might be far away and we can even create a joke that spreads around the entire world. The internet has let us have more of an impact. Our generation just wants to make an impact and the internet makes it easier for that to be done. We just want our voices to be heard and our problems  to be solved and through connecting through social media and the internet this is happening.

Allison Wise, 17, The Westminster Schools

Today, teens are communicating on levels impossible to past generations. With the world at our fingertips (as long as those fingertips are touching a keyboard), teenagers are able to form connections and relationships with people they may not have been able to reach out to in the past.

It all begins to sound like gibberish after a while: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and countless other creatively named means of electronic correspondence. It can be all too easy for adults to dismiss the selfies and status updates of this generation but teens are practicing communication with each other. These platforms allow content creators to reach broader audiences, expanding the emphasis on creativity. Be it a Photoshop masterpiece of an entertaining vlog, viewers of the artist’s online portfolio are encouraged to pass the content along to friends. This reaps two benefits — it allows the artist to continue to publish their craft and is often linked to financial gain for the creator. It also opens the eyes of the viewer to the notion that art is not such an obscure profession as it once had been seen. By way of modern technology, teens today can forge friendships and bask in creativity in ways previously deemed impossible.

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Katie Jordan, 16, Pace Academy

A lot of older generations are not as open to change and ideas drastically different than what were once typical opinions when they were younger. One issue this really affects is the LGBT community. It’s harder for those who weren’t taught that a person’s sexuality is not in their control. It must be a lot harder for those who were never educated about the subject ot who have never known people who are LGBT because they have only seen the issue from the side producing the fear, hate and disgust that many people have for LGBT people.

We are told to be ourselves and to love and treat one another equally, yet transgender people are labeled weird and wrong when they try and be themselves and become who they are. We are all supposedly equal, but some people are allowed to marry who they love and others are not.

Many LGBT youth feel it would be better to kill themselves than be who they are. A society that judges people and hates on people to the point where they kill themselves is not one I want to live in.

Jabari Baker, 15, Carver Early College

Dear Parents,

We are the greatest generation to walk on planet earth. We are teens, so we are complicated. Our complicated situations make us who we are. For all the older readers, you were once teens, too, so don’t act confused. You remember all the mixed emotions and the feelings of being alone. There’s only one thing different from your generation and ours. We’re not alone. When we’re on our phones, we are engaging in great conversations with our friends. Just because we’re on the phone doesn’t mean we’re anti-social. It means we’re talking to friends, listening to music, searching the web, doing things we love. Don’t bug us because you think we are lonely. It just means we don’t want to talk to you. No offense, but remember that you are our parents, not our friends.

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You can stop your worrying. We’re not going to run away, but it has crossed our minds. To be honest, you are our biggest problem. Trying to impress you, live up to your standards, live by your intolerable rules, balancing school and you nagging us, it can be pretty stressful to be a teen.

But hey, we can handle it. We’re the greatest generation alive. I’m not asking you to leave completely but to just fall back a little. We’re young adults who can carry ourselves now. We’re not babies anymore. If you keep doing what you’re doing, we’re going to resent you. I know we are changing and it’s hard for you but it’s our lives. We’re going to change. Change is good. You just have to learn how to adapt.

Yours truly, The Greatest Generation

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