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January 20, 2021

Inauguration special: Gen Z discuss hopes for the future of democracy

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the videos and answer the discussion questions below. For the full playlist, click here.

Summary: On Jan. 15, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) aired a half-hour special hosted by Amna Nawaz discussing the impact of Gen Z voters and what changes they would like to see come with the new administration. Premiering before Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the show featured young activists not only providing insight about the current political climate, but their personal experiences and beliefs and how they’ve been impacted. Teen advocates address pressing issues with professionals who continue to push for change. 

In this video, teens from across the nation discuss current issues and national priorities. 

 

Teens also discuss representation within office and what this means for young people of color. They also discuss the significance of the Capitol Riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

 

This video takes a look at what Sen. Kamala Harris’ role as Vice President of the United States will mean to young women of color.

 

NewsHour senior correspondent Amna Nawaz hosts a conversation with three young activists on what’s next for Gen Z in holding the Biden administration accountable.

 

Discussion: First, have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who are young teens addressing in these videos?
  • What are some of the issues that teens want to be prioritized in 2021?
  • When is Inauguration Day?
  • Why is Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a significant addition to the new administration?
  • How do young activists continue to use their voices despite their opinions being suppressed? 

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. How should the younger generation use their voices to keep the new administration accountable?
  2. How does misinformation play a role in weakening democracy?
  3. Why was this recent election considered historic? How did the younger generation play a role in making it historic?

Dig Deeper:

Many young first-time voters are featured in this special. The youth vote for 2020 was  much higher than the 2016 election. For many young people, this is the biggest step in making their voices heard and having the ability to truly make change. Watch the video in this lesson and discuss the power of voting along with how teens have become more civically engaged in recent years.

This lesson was prepared by Aileen Delgado, a high school senior at Miami Lakes Education Center, and EXTRA’s editor Luke Gerwe.


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