Young Citizens

The next book we’ve been assigned to read is By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism, which is, like Media and Social Justice, is a collection of articles written by a number of different people. It was published in 2016 and highlights several of the most recent political and social movements for justice, such as Occupy Wall Street, the protests that came in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, and Black Lives Matter.

Just like when I was reading Necessary Trouble, which was also published in 2016, it’s really interesting to read about events and movements and protests that have happened in my very recent memory. Not only do I have a bit of background knowledge about these events, but it’s cool to get yet another perspective on them that’s different than my own. And I always end up learning more about them, too.

As implied by its full title, By Any Means Necessary is focused on young people’s involvement in activism. The first chapter, “Youth Voice, Media, and Political Engagement: Introducing the Core Concepts,” Henry Jenkins makes it a point to define “youth” as “people in their teens or twenties” who are not only in “a stage of physiological or psychological development, but also a stage in the process of acquiring the skills necessary for political participation at an age where there is less than complete access to the rights of citizenship” (7).

I think it’s interesting that he brings up running for office as a “right of citizenship.” When I think of political citizenship, I think of voting, which I just did for the first time in this past election, not running for office. Maybe it’s because I don’t have any interest in running for any kind of political office, but the thought has literally never crossed my mind. I do, however, think it’s a great way to infiltrate the system.

A kid that I had graduated high school with was recently elected as a councilman of the borough that he lives in, so clearly, running for office is a thought that has crossed other young people’s minds, and I think that’s awesome.

After reading what Jenkins had to say, it dawned on me that someone who is currently my age will be the President of the United States. We will be the ones holding all of the political positions in the future and honestly, that gives me hope.


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