By Audrey Willett:
Voicing Gen Z is a student-run organization that works to spread awareness to Gen Z about topics that aren't discussed enough. Please enjoy the interview with Jea Jalandoni, who is an upcoming freshman in college and the Managing Director of Voicing Gen Z!
AW: Tell us all about you and your organization!
JJ: Voicing Gen Z is a youth-led organization that strives to be a platform wherein Generation Z's voices are amplified and heard. With everything going on among ourselves and the society, we found it wise to become an organization where others can be informed and educated regarding current affairs. Ignorance should not be tolerated, and unfortunately, it is still something we deal with on a daily basis. This is one of the reasons why the organization was born. With all the misinformation spreading around, the members of Voicing Gen Z desire to be resistant to that and hope that other members of our generation will be too. A variety of topics are introduced and discussed in our organization, including, but not limited to: Feminism, Racial Equality, Environmental Issues, LGBTQ+ Community, Mental Health, and Pop Culture. We believe that each one of these topics needs to be understood and given attention during these trying times
AW: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
JJ: We, the youth, are the future. In some aspects, we are the present as well. Although there are people who may underestimate us due to our "incapabilities" or "lack of experience," Generation Z has, in fact, shown in several situations how capable and passionate we are to change the world for the better good—not just for ourselves but also for those who are suffering, dying because of certain circumstances. There are already quite a few Gen Z leaders, and they have achieved so much for our society. All those student-led organizations on Instagram or any other social media platform? Those students are from our generation. This reveals how competent we really are and how much we want to give to the world. This is why our voice needs to be amplified and heard.
AW: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
JJ: There have been times in the past wherein I was skeptical about the future of our society. I looked at the world with eyes that were too negative due to the amount of suffering people around the world have endured. Although I am terrified for more of those sufferings, I am hopeful for the future wherein Generation Z become leaders of the world. Observing us now, so many members of our generation are empathetic but also strong-minded, two characteristics I believe are vital for the future.
AW: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
JJ: From everything that has happened recently, there are so many, or too many, issues the world is facing. I think the most important thing that has to be focused on is the lack of equality in society. Be it in regards to race, gender, economic-wise. The social standings that society itself has produced are ruining us. The stereotypes given by those who are ignorant are ruining us. Not to mention the global pandemic that third-world countries are taking the brunt of. All these need to be addressed properly before the situation gets even worse for the victims.
AW: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
JJ: Voicing Gen Z provides information that is reliable and what we think the people need to hear. With aesthetically pleasing graphics added to the information, this encourages the youth to read and become educated about what our world is facing. We do not adhere to information that is offensive or false in any way. We only hope to spread awareness and give hope to people in our generation. Voicing Gen Z has reached 900 followers on Instagram, and that is 900 people being impacted by the news that we share; and that, in itself, is a humbling power.
AW: Will you be voting in the next election?
JJ: Yes, I will be voting in the next election. I am excited to be part of the change that our nation needs, and I am also hopeful that those who are able to will be voting.
AW: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors. Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
JJ: Right now, we are focused on many partnerships and spreading as much information as we can. You can find all of our articles and resources on our website. We also have a project where those outside of our organization can submit their works, be it an article, artwork, poem, etc. We want other members of our generation to have a platform wherein they can freely express their thoughts and talents. If you want to send your work, you can fill out this form. We hope to produce our own podcast in the future as well, so stay tuned for that! If you want to stay updated, you can also follow our Instagram: @voicinggenz.
AW: If there is anything else you would like to say, please do!
JJ: We are begging all of you reading this to stay informed and keep your mind or eyes open for the news. We are all going through tough situations, and instead of bringing each other down, we should work together to bring light into a society full of darkness. Also, with COVID-19 still present and lurking, please get vaccinated or at least keep wearing your mask! Remember: Don't be a Karen!
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Audrey Willett is a southern California sophomore in high school. She is an activist and aspiring filmmaker, and the Social Media Outreach coordinator for The Gen Z Collective.