Get Social

College students wear graduation caps with red tassles.
Group of Graduates during commencement. Concept education congratulation in University Degree. Graduation Ceremony

Gen Z is Finding Its Voice. Are Our Leaders Listening?

January 19, 2023
Lamar Danley
“This is our time to take charge,” says Howard University student Lamar Danley

A lot of students coming out of high school and college are unable to solve real-world problems because they can’t find the answer in a passage or a book. Education doesn’t tell us to think hard anymore. It teaches us that the solution is somewhere close. In reality, it takes a lot of hard work to find those answers.

Young leaders need more mentorship and a lot more positive feedback. We need policymakers to consider our ideas for societal change and help us put our solutions into action. Right now, that’s not happening to the extent needed to impact generational change. Generation Z will say what we want to be done. Leaders will say, "That's a great idea. I hope when you become a congressman one day, you’ll implement it."

Lamar Danley profile
Lamar Danley is a Howard University student.

Young people aren’t listened to. But we know we have the power to change the system. This is about the future of the world. Climate change isn’t being taken seriously. It's predicted we won't even have social security when we get older. Does the world care about us? How can we care about ourselves if no one seems to care about the problems we have?

I am a political science major and African American studies major at Howard University. My journey as an educational advocate is driven by my belief that educational accessibility is the binder of social and economic stability and the continuity of government. Howard University builds strong leaders in every aspect of society. It shows how the resources of transformative education strengthen our communities and impact our future.

For educational delivery, I want a pipeline of longevity learning, critical development and uniqueness that refines our future leaders and revives that lost curiosity for better, innovative and creative approaches to the world.

I believe it’s important that my voice and this standard for education and policy – and the voices of Gen Z – be heard.

This is our time to take charge of our own environment and reshape each aspect of society into one that caters to our needs.

Howard University student Lamar Danley stands by a sign at the The Atlantic's Education Summit.
Howard University student Lamar Danley was a panelist at The Atlantic's 2022 Education Summit.

Leaders need to create better pipelines for young people to get into politics, for example. Right now many internships in Washington, D.C., are unpaid. People like me—Black people with lower incomes or just young people who need to pay bills—have to decide between taking an internship or surviving. That means employers are only able to pick from a select group of applicants – and those tend to be people who come from money. There need to be additional perspectives from people like me to change the atmosphere in politics.

As a Howard University student, I will always act in truth and service.
Lamar Danley

The pandemic exposed every fault that we have in the country. Not only in our democracy, but also in education, our economy and our social interactions. We have to be very intentional about how we pivot for our longevity as people, as human beings. If we do 2023 right, and really listen and pay attention to Generation Z and the people who were affected most by the pandemic, we can change the state of not only America but the world.

Without the opinions of Gen Z, the gap between generational knowledge and instability will rise and disrupt the potential growth of both Gen Z and generations to come.

As a Howard University student, I will always act in truth and service. But most importantly I look forward to committing to service and strengthening educational accessibility and delivery.

Recent Stories