Coming back from
And you know what happens when youth get excited – that passion and inspiration carries over to other generations. I saw family members holding hands in anticipation, decked out in Obama paraphernalia. I attended a gathering at an African American church where members were offering warm food and a place to watch the inauguration ceremony. I saw emotional encounters from elder generations expressing disbelief and pure joy in how far our country has come – especially since slaves were responsible for clearing and building the land around the National Mall, White House and Capitol areas.
Perhaps the most compelling and heart-warming thing I noticed during my time in
Even when the bus company I was taking home overbooked its seats and passengers were growing agitated, a young man shouted, "hey, you guys, Obama's our president! Let's be happy." This immediately cleared the energy and drew chuckles. After all, nearly everyone on that ride had been in D.C. to celebrate with Obama.
According to CIRCLE, a nonpartisan research center studying youth civic engagement and civic education, an estimated 23 million young Americans under the age of 30 voted in November's election, an increase of 3.4 million compared with 2004. Another way to look at it? The youth turnout rate rose to at least 52 percent, accounting for at least 60 percent of overall voter increase.
President Obama acknowledged the boost as well. During his stop at the "Be the Change" inaugural celebration, Obama said he was "energized by young people."
"I can't tell you how many people have come up to us and said, 'I was kind of skeptical, but then my daughter ... she wouldn't budge. She told me I needed to vote for Obama. Suddenly, I saw my son and he was out volunteering and getting involved like never before.' And so, a new generation inspired a previous generation and that's how change happens in