To my generation; we have a voice. Now is the time to use it.
On Friday, July 24th 2016 Britain stepped away from the largest peace agreement from the second world war. This was not our decision. 18–24 year olds and beyond overwhelming voted to stay, to unite with Europe at a time when community and collaboration are needed more than ever.
In the press, and among the older generation the term ‘Millennials’ is bounded around as a dirty term, representing disillusioned youth impatiently waiting for their parents to die so we can “inherit all that money”. We are the generation that are fucked. We can’t afford house prices, job security is uncertain, we struggle to pay the rent and imaginatively find ways to survive each month. What has kept my friends and I going was the knowledge that beyond this tiny island was something bigger; a continent filled with opportunity, hidden streets with new experiences, friends who warmly offered a new perspective. Because they may be ‘foreigners’ but they are not foreign; how quickly people forgot that “these immigrants” have dreams themselves at night, who want stability and safety for their children, who are simply trying to carve a life out for themselves in a country where they feel they are not welcome. Whether you’re born in Manchester, Bulgaria or Italy, as a single species lucky enough to watch the miracle of life being played out right before our eyes, beneath the thin surface of our skin we are all the same. Maybe if the people who had voted leave had travelled outside their front doorstep they would know that “happiness” “love” and “scared” are understood all over the world, even in the absence of language.
Because this is the world we embraced with open arms just four years ago during the Olympics. Where has that optimism and inclusion gone? How ironic that Boris, who madly swung the Union Jack with pride is now leading the breakup of the UK and drawing the bridge up from our neighbours. Farage, Grove and all the other nameless MPs protected in the decaying towers of Westminster are making decisions on our behalf. Are we going to let them create a future that we don’t want? They, and the 45+ year olds who voted leave benefitted from 40 years of stability, growth and trade cooperation and have whipped this from us before we could prosper ourselves. They are igniting racial tensions that don’t have a place in 2016, advocating exclusion during global crises that we have a responsibility towards. Retreating ourselves won’t stop Africa from enduring draughts and crop loss, cities crumbling in the Middle East or flash floods in Cornwall from the wicked touch of global warming. When the world urged us to step up and remain, they slammed shut our front door without a comprehensive plan for future co-operation.
So to my friends, acquaintances, everyone feeling frightened, despondent or resigned. There is no UK political party who represents our voice, but we have one. Millennials is not a dirty world. It represents an entire generation who are against everything the EU referendum stood for; who hate the ignorance, the simmering racial tensions, propaganda and primetime lies. We are the future leaders, role models, community shakers of tomorrow. We can start small; educate our parents and grandparents of our vision they clearly can’t see, strengthen our friendships, marriages and partnerships with our brilliant european friends, broaden our reach who those who don’t share the same ideals as us.
All is not lost. Knowledge educates ignorance. Compassion is braver than hate. Acceptance will unite division. Now is the time to come together, and we will find a way. I hope you #hearmyvoice.