Latino Youth: The Key To Our Future
From coast to coast, Latino youth have taken to the streets to rally for the passage of The DREAM Act. They’ve stirred public support, garnered media attention, and brought the issue to the forefront of political debates.
In classrooms across the country, Latino students are leading debates about civic and topical issues that range from immigration and racism to the environment and education. Their fire is fueled by their hardy consumption of traditional English-language media and digital technology.
Increasingly, young Latinos are adopting the role of activists and advocates and, according to a new study, hold the key to increasing civic activism and engagement in their parents and the larger Latino community.
Want to encourage your hijos to become civic leaders? Here are some tips:
Encourage discussion over the dinner table. McDevitt’s study shows that Latino teens are eager to talk about current events and pressing issues. Nurture that sense of awareness by being open to their thoughts and opinions.
Share the same media. Often, parents and children exist in separate media worlds. Mom and Dad watch news on one channel, while kids get their information from a different source. Without overlap, a divide can grow between generations, stifling discussion. Try to create common media ground: watch the news together, read the same newspapers, surf the same sites.
Get social media savvy. If you don’t already know your way around Facebook, Twitter, and Google +, create an account and start learning the territory. It’s a good way of keeping up with issues important to your kids. As this study and others show, Latino youth are social media masters and get much of their news from these sites. In fact, much of the DREAM Act movement momentum came from calls to action on Twitter and Facebook.
Get involved in causes. If your children see you working to help end hunger or rallying for a new park in the neighborhood, they will pick up the activism bug. If they come home fired up about an issue, join their cause. Make civic engagement a family venture.