Welcome to this month’s post on Teens Leading in the Community. Each month I will feature an interview or a story about teens leading in the community. This could be a teen in a leadership position in school, in the library or in the community. We want to feature stories about teens leading and making a difference in their communities.
This month’s feature focuses not on teens in Boston, but on teens in the Bay Area in California-cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and Alameda. Teens in these cities are working together, collaborating, presenting at City Council meetings and more. For what? To lower the voting age to 16. The voting age in the United States is 18 years old but there are 9 states that are trying to have the age lowered to 16 (Massachusetts at one time was one them, significantly with North Andover and with Cambridge). The first state to have lowered the voting age is Maryland and that occurred in 2013. The really amazing thing about all of this is the movements have been completely youth led.
They are old enough to drive, work without restrictions on their hours, and pay taxes–they should also have a voice in their local government. Also, lowering the voting age can drive demand for better civic education in schools. These are some of the reasons teens have said they feel the voting age should be lowered to 16. What do you think?
The Youth Activism Project has an article about lowering the voting age and highlights the work that the youth led commission, the San Francisco Youth Commission has been doing to try and get the age lowered. The Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2015 aims to lower the voting age to 16 years old and by doing so bringing young people directly into the political process and, hopefully, creating lifelong voters.
What do you think? Do you think the voting age should be lowered to 16 in the state and/or cities in Massachusetts?
Are you interested in learning more about leadership opportunities? The Boston Public Library, Teen Central has a Teen Leadership Council that meets monthly in Teen Central and there is a job help page that provides information on job opportunities, volunteer and internship opportunities.
Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.
*”Teens Leading in the Community” features interviews and stories about teens leading in their communities by Jessi, the Teen Services Team Leader, Central, on the third Tuesday of every month.