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Frustration, maybe, but apathy? No way! Young people want to be engaged in civic life

Minnesota Public Radio recently held something called a youth caucus, where they convened young people to talk about increasing their involvement in civic life. MPR reporter Bob Collins included many comments verbatim during his live blogging session. One of the caucus attendees, Jordan Hamilton, is a member of SPEAC, a group of youth organizers at Hope Community in Minneapolis. Read about SPEAC's work here.

Below are reactions to the youth caucus from two University of Minnesota students taking a class called Community Organizing Skills for Public Action. Submit a comment to add your voice to the conversation. Are you "civically engaged"? If not, why?

"If we see a need, we are the ones who must make the change. For example, if I have a chore that needs to be done at home, say taking out the garbage, I know I can wait all I want, but no one else will do it for me. In the meantime, the garbage continues to pile up and develops a not so pleasant odor. Waiting for someone to come and do our work for us doesn’t alleviate the issue, and can allow a severe problem to degrade even further. But there is hope – our generation wants to go out and make a better world, but sometimes those in power don’t believe that we can have an impact. This is where it comes down to us to first change this “powerless citizen? mentality by making change ourselves. In the MPR blog, the problems we all face are enormous, but the quotes at the end from the adults who came to listen have one recurring theme: go out there and be the change you want for your community. Problems were identified, and that’s a great start, because it provides a chance to show those in power that the voice of youth isn’t one to be ignored, but welcomed." -- Erik Brecheisen

"The youth caucus was a fabulous effort, yet another way to get youth voices heard. The responses from students really makes me proud of our generation, one that fiercely cares, and one that intuitively desires respect. If anything, opportunities like the youth caucus are what we need in order to keep the youth engaged and involved. This is one way to show politicians and other adults in power that youth need to be a part of the process of changing and shaping our world." -- Nora O'Hara

Listen to the audio archive of the youth caucus.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs