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Empower the next generation this Democracy Day

By The Editorial Board

We’re tardy in our celebration of Democracy Day, which fell on Sept. 15, but we still wanted to write about the day and its meaning.

This year’s theme, according to the United Nations, is “empowering the next generation.” They specifically point to threats to democracy like hyper-nationalism, climate change and disinformation.

In some of our local areas, the numbing power of violence in a community keeps young people from engaging meaningfully with the democratic process.

In the Sto-Rox School District, our students have had to deal with a stabbing, a shooting and a bomb threat – all within the first month of heading back to school.

That deep sense of insecurity about the present day doesn’t inspire faith in the future. You can understand why a community would run into the arms of a law-and-order strongman while sacrificing their rights. You can understand why the complex and at times overwhelming climate crisis shrinks in relevance when tomorrow already lacks a guarantee.

How can we expect young people to lift up the lofty mantle of democracy when gunshots are ringing in their ears?

Last year one of our reporters had a conversation with Naveah Thomas she will never forget.

Thomas was a 2022 Sto-Rox High School graduate who appeared on our front cover with daisies on her mortarboard.

She was a good student, who’d organized a memorial for one of her teachers who died of cancer.

She was a compassionate person who cared about her community.

The recent grad said she was going into the military post-graduation because if she was going to be shot at and die, at least it would be for a reason.

That’s heartbreaking.

If our society is going to survive, we’ve got to give the young better choices than getting shot in their neighborhood or getting killed overseas.



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