On Wednesday, April 20th, Filmmaker Spike Lee presented the 2016 Atwater Lecture at The College of William & Mary. In addition to inciting students to pursue careers that feed their passions, the controversial director, producer, writer and actor referred to millennials as the most socially conscious generation since the 1960s and ’70s. In his address, Lee attributed the rise of the democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the current wave of political and socially progressive movements to the persistence of black millennials. “Ya’ll are woke,” he said in reference to the black student movement covered in his upcoming documentary on the Mizzou protests.
And Lee is absolutely right. Here are just a few ways that the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 2000) has awakened the consciousness and changed the social and political landscape in America:
Unwilling to submit to the status quo, millennials are calling out hypocrisy and demanding social justice, equality and economic opportunity.
The first African-American president of the U.S.
In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first non-white President of the United States due in large part to the grassroots mobilization of hundreds of thousands of campaign volunteers and voters under the age of thirty.
Equality Millennials overwhelmingly support social equality and equal rights regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion or sex. Millennials, more than any other demographic, self-identify as liberal.
The tactical protest, civil disobedience and direct action of millennials has ushered in movements such as Occupy Wall street, Black Lives Matter and the Dreamers campaign for a legal path to citizenship.
By harnessing our collective energy, inspiring strength and leveraging social media, millenial creatives, artists and techies have been vital to this moment in history.
Millennials have transformed the tone of the political conversation, shifted the social paradigm and influenced real change in policy…and we’re just getting started.
How do you think millennials have changed the social landscape? Let us know in the comments below.