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Gen Z Speaks: Let’s put generational rivalries to rest

A 17-year-old reminds the rest of us that in tough times like these there’s no room for petty squabbling between generations and that it’s the responsibility of their elders to leave this world in better shape than their predecessors, so that the next generation may do likewise.

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By Ayisat Bisriyu


The year 2021 is a unique time to be alive: Never before has our society been so connected, so social, or so aware. 

We can do things never thought possible: alert people of news that they otherwise would have never known and develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in less than a year. It’s an exciting time full of potential for change, even as it feels like kids my age seem to be more scared, more anxious, and more in debt than our parents were at our age.

We’re bombarded with news about what seems like injustices all over the world, we’re regularly shown graphic imagery of these injustices, and a lot of us feel guilty that we can’t help everyone. Not only are the young people of America worried about global crises, but we’re also worried about college expenses, a worsening climate, a worsening economy, and the price of goods. 

Although many teens have made many moves to protest, educate, and spread awareness about the problems, we are still plagued with injustice, bigotry, and the reality that substantial change takes a very long time. It’s not totally unfounded to say we might not even see systemic change within our lifetime.

In a world where people everywhere are exposed to so much hate, the act of kindness, of a genuine desire to help some of the most vulnerable members of society, can go an exceedingly long way.

To put it best, things are weird, and it seems as though they may never truly return to “normal.”

As with any generation, Gen Z is not a monolith. We have different opinions, different goals, and different fears. However, most of us can agree that in a time like this — pandemic or not — we need help. 

We need adults to stand up for us and our concerns, get involved in the organizations we care about, understand why we fear the things we fear and advocate with us so that they can ensure that the world they’re living in now is not the best it will be for the decades to come. 

We need adults to listen to the younger people around them — not scoff at their issues or create internet challenges to see what generation is better. 

In a world where people everywhere are exposed to so much hate, the act of kindness, of a genuine desire to help some of the most vulnerable members of society, can go an exceedingly long way.

Ayisat Bisiriyu, 17, attends Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh. She is also a regular contributor to iGeneration Youth, the only by-youth, for-youth news service featuring the work of students around the world.

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