Who are we?
I am a Millennial.
Looking back, I can remember significant events tied to the different generations. The baby boomers were known for Brown v. Board of Education, the beginning of the Women's Liberation and the feminist movement, the Vietnam War and protests against it, and the Civil Rights Movement, to name a few.
Generation X, also known as the MTV Generation was known for the AIDS Epidemic, a spark in the divorce rate, independence, being a bridge into our now more modern society, and often a generation not discussed as widely as Baby Boomers.
And now in 2015, Millennials are now a quarter of the population, making us the dominant generation. And as Millennials, we have made many strides. We are a more diverse generation, with 44.2 percent of us being part of a minority race. Some of the generalizations made about Millennials include being narcissistic and too dependent on technology. And some of this may be true, but is that really who we are?
As a black woman and Millennial, I reap the benefits of the strides the Baby Boomers made. My father's and mother's story is remembering riots in Chicago after the Dr. Martin Luther King assassination; they experienced a different, more turbulent racial time, one where systematic barriers were more visible. Yet, they overcame. A product of parents from the inner-city who sought education as a means for upward mobility, doors were opened that I could run through instead of having to stand at the door asking for the opportunity to get in. My world is not their world. And a result of so much stride and change, comes many intersections in identity--something new with endless possibilities.
At the present time, where racial conflicts and protests, terrorist attacks, negative impacts on the environment, mounting student debt, and gun violence are taking center stage, it is hard to see the positive in current times. However, we are in a time of opportunity, a time that comes with difficulties that differ from the past, but a time where our capabilities to affect change are strong because of some of the strides of the past.
I have admired watching Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Z, and other generations of all races and genders band together to fight against police brutality, racism, gender inequality, environmental degradation, gun violence, and other important issues affecting society. This progress does not mean we should be silent or stagnant, however.
The Attacks in Paris and Nigeria, global terrorism, children being gunned down in American inner cities, college campus racism, and people of color being the subject of police brutality disproportionately is a reminder that more progress is to be had. And as Millennials, a group in strong number with a face of diversity, we have the ability to write history and set a foundation for future generations in spite of who we've been and who society says we are.
History will be written, and instead of arguing amongst each other about what side of history we stand on, it is better to stand for making sure future generations only have to expand progress instead of inheriting current issues as they are.