As election day comes to a close, voters are getting ready to cast their ballots on the candidates they hope to win. SF elections also are no exception to this rule, and young electors are feeling empowered to vote for those they deem trustworthy and responsible for the electoral positions. An event called “March for the Future” took place through San Francisco on November 1, 2020, anticipating the upcoming general elections.
The Youth Advocates For a Change sponsored and led the march on Sunday, accompanied by other activists and fellow youngsters who will participate in the electoral voting system for the first time.
Among the teenage campaigners was 18-year old Tiana Day. She previously steered a Black Lives Matter protest across the Golden Gate Bridge last June of this year. According to Day, she never participated in any activist protests in her entire life until the summer, when thousands of people fought against racial discrimination and police violence.
“Seven months ago, I wouldn’t have called myself an activist. But a man named George Floyd died under the knee of Derek Chauvin (former Minneapolis police officer), and I couldn’t sleep anymore,” Day expressed to a troupe of protesters on Sunday. “I couldn’t close my eyes without the terrifying image of his neck pressed into the pavement,” she added.
Inspired by the George Floyd incident, Day established the nonprofit organization Youth Advocates For a Change (the group who organized the march) and led many dissents. Together with other youth organizers, they rallied to support LGBTQ and women’s rights, including police accountability and climate change.
Shane, another 18-year old teenager from Menlo Park, participated in the promenade. According to him, he assisted in planning for the event and holds strong beliefs that his peers can be the positive change waiting to happen on the Tuesday election. He also declared that he is taking part in the Tuesday elections for the first time.
“I’m telling my friends: if you are eligible to vote, get the polls now,” stated Shane. “You do have the power to change this election,” he added.
The pack gathered at Embarcadero Plaza on Sunday to begin the march. Teenage protesters held banners with writings like “The Climate is Changing, Why Aren’t We?,” “Speak for Trees,” and “All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black One’s Do,” as they parade down towards the U.S. Courthouse and Philip Burton Federal Building.
19-year old Bennie Williams, one of the protest’s youth organizers and a student at Morehouse College, expressed a clear indication that the White House doesn’t need Trump to lead the whole nation.
“I’m voting for Joe Biden in exchange for justice,” said William. He is expecting that the presidential nominee would surge education and funding for historically Black colleges. These wishes also include police accountability if Biden wins the position.
The determined voices of the young activists echoed through the streets as they marched through The City.
One young protester named Henry Shane relayed to the crowd her concerns regarding LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage.
“I fear that one day, I may not have the ability to marry the person I love – a human right that is not up for a debate,” Shane asserted. “Same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights are not up for debate. Not ever, not now,” she concluded. She believes that those aged 18 to 25 have the power to change the result of the election and shape their futures. Shane also encourages those who attended the march to vote for their rights.
The University of San Francisco Professor of Politics James Taylor trusts that the young voters can alter the election results on Tuesday. They showed it by being present for the 2018 mid-term elections.
“We see the maturation of a young generation determined to have their voices heard. Part of the outcome on Tuesday night is going to point to the effect of young people on voting,” Taylor stated.
The march halted in front of the San Francisco Federal Building, accompanied by a yell to the crowd to speak up for their rights.