by Maricel N. Castro
Give me hope Jo’anna Hope Jo’anna
Give me hope Jo’anna
‘Fore the morning comes
Certainly, many youths nowadays already vibe this song and dance trend on the famous entertainment app Tiktok. The phrase abovementioned was part of the chorus of the 1988 hit song Gimme Hope Jo’anna by Eddy Grant. Little did the people know, especially the Generation Z’s who are grooving with it that this song used to become a protest song that helped people in Africa to win their battle against racism and Apartheid in their country and continent. Similarly, just like how many of us were surprised about this fact, many youths are still unaware of the importance of their involvement in choosing the rightful leaders that will steer the way for our country. Maybe the present generation is too busy focusing on trends and entertainment on social media to the extent that we come out off-guarded about vital issues and dilemmas that can also be found on the same platforms they are patronizing.
Primarily, just like how the song abovementioned demanded hope, youth voting’s importance also is embedded heavily in giving hope for the future of the nation. If the productive workforces are the integral backbone of the economic stability, the youth voters can be described as the building blocks of a more competent and cleaner government in the future. The glimmer of hope that my students and other youth can bring as they register and vote righteously for the next set of our leaders is big enough to indeed spell the difference. Taking inspiration from a statement of Dingdong Dantes, a famous Philippine actor, and a former National Youth Commissioner, your vote can be the tiebreaker. A single vote from the youth who are dubbed as the future of the country will really matter.
But that is not the only essence of youth voting. The essence of it transcends from the actual results of a conducted election. The mere idea of youth participating in the upbringing of the right of suffrage will make them develop their sense of urgency prior to the actual election. They will be more eager to put in efforts on knowing the candidates vying for each position. They will be exerting energy and time to research the backgrounds, track records, and platforms of the people running for the elections so that they would know who to vote and what to hope for. This will make them more assertive and keen on observing and examining the possible leaders who will assume office. In the long run, the youth will become observant and effortful on the daily basis of their lives in any environment whether in school or home.
Moreover, youth voting can also become an eye-opener with regards to more social rights and responsibilities of the youth themselves. Voting for me is considered to be both a right and a responsibility. Through it, the youth like my dear students can delve deeper into more rights and responsibilities bestowed on them. They would know that they don’t need to settle for any less. They would be aware that they have the right to choose, to speak up, to benefit, and to be protected. On the contrary, they would also know that they are responsible for doing their part with regards to fostering the country by means of prioritizing education, taking care of the environment and their own selves, joining social activities, and cradling the worthy values that we have as a thriving democratic country.
Lastly, the youth voting will not only raise awareness about its impact on the results of the election but will also be raising role model youths that will be a great influence towards their peers. As these youth voters continue to be involved and active in practicing their social rights and responsibilities, others will look up to them and will make them an inspiration. In return, children will look and emulate them. As they say, children are not actually good listeners but they are good imitators.
During this time when social media and technology already rule the world, let us use this advantage. Join the 52% of youth voters who already registered to vote for the election 2022. Let us break the cycle altogether, and be a real and equipped agent of progressive change. Life can be crueler for sure if we will not act now.
About the Author:
Maricel N. Castro is a Teacher at Talipapa High School, Sdo Caloocan, Ncr, Philippines