The second installment of our national tour across the United
States brought us first to Ohio: "The heart of it all," boasts
the state license plate.
Our first stop was Columbus -- Ohio's burgeoning capital city,
peppered with humungous outdoor shopping malls and bustling with
students from Ohio State University and local community colleges.
The sun shone hotly when we pulled the Generation Next RV into
Town Square on the evening of July 10. Restaurants and stores
buzzed with commercial activity. We conducted several impromptu
interviews with young locals shopping or dining in this bustling
outdoor mall. We spoke with young Ohioans like Ben Szerlip about
of education, the necessity of parental support and the sometimes
conflicting ties of religion and friendship.
"We use our parents as more of a crutch than previous generations
did," said Ben Szerlip of Mount Vernon, Ohio. "But we're independent
Our second day in Ohio started early, in the city's east side
at a local garden community maintained by children in a summer
program facilitated by several Gen Nexters at Columbus Community
Our first interview was with Chaz Hillmon, a budding poet and
child care provider deeply concerned about the challenges facing
his neighborhood at a time when the rising cost of higher education
puts college degrees out of reach for many.
Later that day, Chaz took Judy Woodruff and the crew to a poetry
slam, where he shared his poem, "Black Moses," an intense
piece about finding one's individual value through the maze of
negative stereotypes impacting what it means to be a black man
in today's world.
Mora, another young community activist, also shared her poetry
that evening. The following day, Judy spoke with Adora at length
about her life and future prospects. We
shared a meal with her family.
Much like Adora and Chaz, our other two profiles -- Jesse Jones
and Sarah McGarity -- were as alike as they were different. We
found Jesse Jones through John Roscoe's campaign for the Ohio
Senate. Although she is a conservative, her close friend and fellow
community college student, Sarah McGarity, most definitely is
not. Sarah is currently volunteering for various Green party campaigns.
After wrapping up several days of video
kiosking at Ohio State University, Easton Town Square and
Columbus State Community College, the RV hit the open road and
headed to Michigan, specifically Comerica Park in Detroit, where
we interviewed some more folks before they headed to the ballpark
to watch the Tigers play the Royals.
If you have any ideas or questions, please feel free to contact us
See you on the road!