COVID 19: Youth Engagement for Global Action

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4 months; 18 weeks; 140 days, since the lockdown began, doesn’t feel like it, does it?

When the lockdown first got announced, do you remember your reaction to it? At that time, did it ever occur to you that your daily routine will be disrupted and that you will evolve into being equipped to face challenges and thrive in the “new normal”?

Let us take a brief trip down the memory lane. Go back to when the world wasn’t inflicted with the pandemic 6 months back; Now, flashforward to today. When you reflect back on the world that was, and how it is today, there are tremendous changes and events that have occurred, both in our personal lives and the world.

How have these evolving times shaped us as the youth? 

For the past several years, the world has tried to understand and adapt to the millennial trends, the largest and the most educated generation and through this process the world and its residents have truly evolved in thought & action. This evolution and the change in various circumstances has paved the way for generation Z to voice out opinions, challenge authority, and become pioneers in advocating & demanding change to make our world a better place.  

But is Gen Z really changing the world or is it the world that’s changing us?

Take a moment to think.

This massive change has left a huge mark in our lifestyle and in global trends. And we as today’s youth did not see this sudden rift coming our way. In light of recent events, the past few months have been extremely challenging for all of us. A constant reminder during these uncertain times is also taking a toll on our mental health. Gen Z, who considers themselves the advocators of change, at the same time is also the generation that is exhausted at a fairly younger age. Overachieving in all domains, peer pressure, the constant need to be productive, living up to the expectations of the people around us, an erratic change in our environment is the cause of this exhaustion and distress.

Yet, we remain standing resilient with our heads in the sky, still craving for excellence in whatever it is that we choose to do. 

Why is that? We have learnt better from previous generations and thus we are agile and innovative in thought whilst adapting to change. We are the generation willing to make a strong come back, battling adversity and changing the world. We are the generation that craves human interaction and at the same time is diverse and connected. We are the generation that wants to be entrepreneurial risk-takers and at the same time be financially inclined. We are independent in thought and at the same time we embrace change and take in criticism constructively. But most importantly, we want our voices to be heard; our voices to be accounted for, and a platform to voice out these opinions.

That brings us to all the social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, just to name a few. Today’s youth is not just using these platforms to post pictures, connect with their loved ones or share memes. They are in turn using these platforms to be heard and they are voicing their opinions and taking actions towards a cause or a social issue they truly connect with.

The youth along with established activists, longing for change, have taken the social responsibility, stepped out of their circle, and have begun to speak up to bring about awareness to the masses on various circumstances and have also provided action steps to truly bring about change.

A few of them being, the current affairs around police brutality and concerns around environmental sustainability. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement & the talk on ‘EIA 2020’ and its implications, has stirred a nationwide debate which has indefinitely led to a movement on social media with thousands of likeminded people coming together to eradicate the same.

Now all of this brings us to the first question that was asked?

How have these evolving times shaped us as the youth? 

Today being the International Youth Day, it’s time for us to come together and work towards actionable goals actively, to promote sustainable development on a global level.

The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels.

International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions, and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal, and equitable engagement.

As the youth of the world let us remember and take the first step to always unite in action and leave our legacy in the sands of time for future generations to follow. 

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Ruchika Ganwani
Not everything is about ourselves, and here I am, Meghal presenting my fore as a living paradox of trying to make a difference while not knowing if my echo resonates with you, while pushing my limits with each attempt yet being scared of failure. But I won't let my no's overpower my willingness. The question is, are you ready to write a chapter in the story that matters?