March For Our Lives and local activist groups jointly hosted a ‘Protect our Future’ rally at the Michigan Capitol Building on Friday to promote voting rights and to discuss the issues at stake on the ballot in November's midterm election.
David Hogg, gun control activist and co-founder of March For Our Lives, served as one of the main speakers at the rally, where he spoke about the issues that young people care about and how, he said, they are often overlooked by politicians.
“I'm tired of seeing more and more young people that are 17-years-old, like I was when I started, that are becoming products of a failed political system that lets down our young people time and time again,” Hogg said.
March for Our Lives is a movement that was born out of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. in 2018. Since then, the group has been advocating for “civic engagement, education and direct action by youth to eliminate the epidemic of gun violence,” according to their website.
March for Our Lives was joined by RISE to Vote on Friday – a group centered around registering and encouraging people to vote.
Michigan House Minority Leader Rep. Donna Lasinski and Michigan Sen. Curtis Hertel also attended the event.
“So the work that you're doing is important because, frankly, the reason we have to listen to so many old people is because they vote – that’s who shows up,” Rep. Lasinski said.
The largest age group of voters nationally is ages 65 to 74, at 76%, compared to the smallest group of voters being ages 18 to 24 at 51.4%, according to the latest U.S census.
Young people being the smallest group of voters means that the issues that young people tend to care most about are often the most unrepresented by elected officials, Friday's speakers said.
November's election will also be the first election to be held since Michigan's voting districts were redrawn.
Hertel discussed the significance of this in his remarks.
“Michiganders two years ago decided that gerrymandering was wrong, that the politicians should not decide who their voters are. And then they are actually the people on the side who represent them and the lines have been redrawn," Hertel said. "This is a historic election in Michigan because for the first time in Michigan, people will decide that the majority of the legislature is not the politicians.”
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