The past month I have been so involved in democracy that I dream about bills and manage to turn every conversation into one about legislation. It’s annoying and yet I’m hooked. I soak it all up. Yesterday I attended COBI—Children…Our Best Investment, which is a day where students can hear speakers talk about current issues, form messages for their legislators, have lunch with Senators and Representatives, and go to the Statehouse for tours and conversations with legislators. I was so impressed to see young people soaking it up just like I do.
They asked panelists tough questions that forced them to get to the heart of the issues. When legislators came to lunch, they brought up problems in education that they are facing and asked how the current bills are going to address the issues. If answers from panelists or legislators were not up to snuff, they said, “But what about this…” Everything from gang activity in schools, to undocumented immigrants getting a college education, to how far schools can go in suspending and expelling students, to restructuring the Indianapolis Public School system were brought up and spoken about not only with passion, but with poise, knowledge, and confidence.
At the Statehouse later in the day I saw students talking with their legislators, grilling legislative assistants about how they got their jobs and what degree was needed, and introducing themselves as “Future Senator So-and-So” and “Future Governor”.
If this is the face of Indiana’s future, we are in good hands. These high school students want to know the answers. They ask good questions. They’re not interested in simply identifying a problem; they’re interested in coming up with solutions and making them happen. I’m confident that even in a highly partisan political climate that is discouraging many, these students will keep their drive and optimism and become great leaders.
One day our generation is gonna rule the population, so stop Waiting on the World to Change. These youth did.