New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York are Giving New Politically Active Millennials a Voice, Reported by amNY

Posted on January 25, 2018

Trump’s presidency challenges millennials in NYC to become more politically active

Originally Posted by amNY on January 19, 2018
Written by Lauren Cook

President Donald Trump’s first year in office has been inspirational for many young adults, but perhaps not in the traditional sense of the word. “It has inspired chaos first, enormous confusion, but there is no question that people, whose response earlier was that it doesn’t make much of a difference, have become more politically active,” David Elcott, a professor of practice in public service and leadership at NYU Wagner, said. New York City has become a major hub for political demonstrations over Trump’s rhetoric and policy changes since his election. From the Women’s March on NYC and LGBTQ rights rallies at the Stonewall Inn to demonstrations at Kennedy Airport when the president’s initial travel ban went into effect in January 2017, previously apathetic millennial New Yorkers have shown up in the streets by the thousands. Advocacy groups across the city have seen trickle-down effects of Trump’s election with membership numbers on the rise among several organizations. Make the Road New York, an NYC-based community advocacy group, has seen a membership growth of roughly 2,500 over the past year. Social and political activism group New York Communities for Change has also seen an uptick in membership. “We did see a surge in people participating in our actions and we collected around 10,000 new folks,” Renata Pumarol, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, said. “It was most apparent right after Trump got elected.” The inspiration has spread across both sides of the aisle, according to Elcott. Young conservatives also are becoming more politically active — particularly young evangelical Christians and anti-abortion Catholics — but New York City’s overwhelmingly Democratic demographics tend to skew that perception, he added. But the question remains whether millennials — who are often labeled as indifferent toward larger, complex social issues — can turn reactionary activism into a more sustained political movement. “Nothing about the way millennials work, nothing about it is durable, sustainable or organized long-term,” Elcott said. Local activism does not always translate into national policy, even on issues like DACA, despite polls that show Americans overwhelmingly support giving so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship. “There’s no question that the next generations are going to engage in civic affairs through social media,” he added. “Door-to-door canvassing is not very likely.” But Elcott questions whether social media engagement is enough to truly affect change in policy. And until there comes a time when online voting is widely used, millennials still need to go out and physically vote. “So you’ve got to get them out to vote.”

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