Everyday in America, 13,000 young people turn 18.
Everyday in America, hundreds of thousands of the 44 million eligible young voters in America are actively engaged in improving our communities.
Everyday in America, millions of people discuss some of the most pressing issues of our generation via Facebook, Twitter or some other form of social media.
On Wednesday, March 23rd, tens of thousands of students across the nation registered to vote and were empowered to continue changing the world.
Wednesday, March 23rd, marked not only the 40th Anniversary of young people acquiring the right to vote, but also the launch of Rock the Vote’s first annual “Democracy Day.”
As the largest organization dedicated to engaging and building political power for young people, Rock the Vote knows the critical importance of getting young people involved in the political process and as such has registered more young voters than any other organization in America.
Along with Darren Criss, star of the hit show Glee, I was honored to co-facilitate Rock the Vote’s “Democracy Class” at one of the most diverse schools in Los Angeles – Hamilton High School.
That day, the students in the school auditorium weren’t just interested in government 101, these students were leaders who just four days earlier had organized the largest student walkout in the schools history to protest the proposed cuts to education.
As Darren and I shared with and learned from these incredibly talented students, I was once again floored by the skill-set, knowledge and potential for young people to radically transform our country.
With comments and a discussion that you’d expect to hear from seasoned organizers, these young people were determined to do something about the current state of education.
With an undeniable thirst for change, these students were becoming more aware of their power as young voters and their potential to sway elections and hold elected officials accountable.
In short, these young minds had become engaged, informed and activated to start changing America.
So as states across the country look towards drastically cutting education to grapple with record budget deficits, I would ask you to reconsider.
I would ask you to consider the detrimental impacts that cutting education will have on the hopes and dreams of millions of young people.
I would ask you to consider the immediate impact that cutting education will have on families, the economy and public safety.
And I would ask you to reconsider the fact that you are not only galvanizing young people across the country, but immediately contributing to students becoming more empowered to voice their concerns at the ballot box.
For more information on Democracy Class visit rockthevote.com
Mike de la Rocha is a Los Angeles-based artist and organizer. His debut solo album, “Moving Forward,” is available at mikedelarocha.com, iTunes and other outlets.
Follow Mike on Twitter @mrmikedelarocha