Wichita Millennials Speak Out On Elections, Civic Engagement
Dozens of young adults took part in a civic engagement workshop in Wichita last week. They listened to their peers in the Republican and Democratic parties. The workshop, put together by Wichita Urban Professionals and Young Professionals of Wichita, was part of an effort to educate millennials and to get them involved in the political process.
Brandon Johnson, Urban Professionals of Wichita
"It really highlighted a new sense of bipartisanship, especially amongst the younger folks here in Wichita and members of the parties. It showed an enthusiasm about getting involved in politics and really trying to recruit new people, and hopefully it will excite people into voting and getting more involved and we can stop seeing these low-turnout elections."
Suzy Finn, executive director of Young Professionals of Wichita
"The thing that I learned that I wasn’t familiar with before was the caucus process and how that was different for each of them...it’s something you can visually see your impact and your role in making those early decisions in the presidential primaries. I think it was really interesting to hear the Democratic one in particular that you go in a room and you figure that out and you discuss and you debate and you change sides."
"I think there’s a lot of social issues concerning a lot of citizens and there’s disagreement on how to go about solving that inequality. But I think we all recognize there’s a lot of inequality that plagues our society and creates a lot of injustices and unfairness and just a lot of pain for a lot of people in this country."
"As a 25-year-old African-American woman, I didn’t know a lot about the differences in the political parties and it was just excellent getting to see the different viewpoints and seeing sides and seeing where they stand on different issues.
"I feel like a lot of times we do only focus on what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and we don’t really look at what’s going on right here in our own communities and what our legislators are doing. Being in Kansas, we are a Republican state, and it just shined the light on [the fact that] we do need to vote, we do need to get...people in this generation, because we have the power to make that change."
Robert Chavez, Jr.
"It was interesting learning about my community and my state and I think it was really interesting to get the younger generation involved. For me as a Hispanic Latino I think it’s really important that I see this so I can start conveying it back to my children and my people that I work with.
"For me personally, jobs is important. I think education is probably No. 1 to me, though I do agree that education is the way that we need to take our country forward."
"As a new entrant to the job force, what really concerns me is that stability, and so I like seeing how that they have this national perspective as it pertains to business and how that will impact [us] locally. That economic stability is really going to impact me moving forward."
Lamont Anderson, Sedgwick County Black Republican Council
"I think it’s beautiful that we have representatives from the Republican and the Democratic [parties] here to really address the issues, but more importantly to draw voter engagement. It’s really about getting folks out to the polls and sparking some enthusiasm amongst the voters. Whatever you vote, whether you're Democrat or Republican or independent, that isn’t the primary concern. The primary concern is that you get out to the polls and you make your voice heard."
Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.
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