13 Oct 2016

By Jade Goins

There are five-hundred thousand elected offices in the United States. from school board, local government, fifty Gubernatorial slots, all the way up to the President of The United States of America. Across the country a staggering ,meager twenty-two percent of these offices are held by women. 

As a woman, a U.S. citizen, and a person of color, I deeply aspire to run for office one day.

Before graduating college I wasn’t aware of this political disparity existed. What I did know were that few women ran or held elected office. Yet, was unaware how low the percentage truly was and more importantly, WHY, it was so low. A need to comprehend led me to become a fellow at IGNITE, a national non-partisan organization building a movement of young women prepared to be the next generation of political leaders. I need information and engagement with an organization actively tackling the problem and strategizing around methods for needle moving on this front of the movement. With what I know now, I must be an active part of making a difference. By joining IGNITE I have the opportunity to educate my peers and myself. 

Through IGNITE I am able to spread the news: Black women’s voices matter in our society. But the only way we protect and amplify these voices is through participation in the political process. No matter what type of women you are, beginning at age 18, the power is literally in our hands.This being an election year our responsibility should be more focused on asking ourselves how we can get engaged, who can we help get engaged and what must we be doing to stay informed during this time ? We have the power to choose, who is elected, what policies and laws are enforced and have a say in how they are carried out. For those of us 30 and under, this is truly a milestone and our stamp of independence in society. What could be more empowering than letting your voice be heard during an election year? 

Beyond voting, which you must, you can join a local or national campaign, lead a voter registration drive,or go to the #Blackwomenvote site and make a PLAN with your friends or family for election day. Who we elect nationally and to lead our neighborhoods locally makes a difference in your daily life, whether you realize it or not. 

What’s boss about being a millennial, is we’re inherently more civic minded group than our predecessors. We do nothing if we don’t believe in it. Which it’s why it’s also time to define ourselves as a group of individuals aware of why we should engaged in politics and elections. 

This election year everyone has strong views and opinions about the future of our nation. Now is your moment to do more than sit at home yelling at your television. or tweet for or against the candidate you hate more. Now is your moment to get proactive in this election. Make your voice heard and help others do the same by volunteering on a local campaign, reading and sharing insightful, fact based articles, discussing the debates with your squad, and even attend one of those political events you hear others talking about. See for yourself how easy and important it can be to take some of these steps converting your opinion into a voice.

Jade Goins is from Atlanta, GA., and is a national fellow at IGNITE, inspiring young women to #DeclareYourAmbition.
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