“Control Congress and you control the country.”
That’s a quote from Yara Shahidi.
Yara Shahidi stars in the hit TV shows Black-ish and Grown-ish. But that’s not all she does. Shahidi is also a model, political activist, and—most importantly — an 18-year-old.
Why does it matter that she’s 18? Millions of us are 18. You may be 18, your siblings may be 18, your friends, cousins, maybe even your aunts or uncles. But what makes Yara Shahidi so special for being 18?
She can VOTE!
What makes each of us special when we turn 18?
WE GET TO VOTE!
The midterm elections finally arrive this year. 2018. November 6, 2018. Anyone born between November 6, 1999 and November 5, 2000, will be 18 this election. That’s huge. This is the year of 18 and up.
But what does this all have to do with Yara Shahidi?
“I’m launching a new initiative titled eighteenx’18, which will be a platform to encourage my peers to vote for the very first time in our upcoming midterm elections.”
The platform rests upon a simple, yet strong foundation: getting young people to vote.
By linking the political frustrations of our generation to creative outlets of social media and pop culture-based, interactive platforms, Shahidi leads an inspirational, strategic mission to not only help young people realize their truth and their rights, but to also nurture them along the path to active engagement in our democracy.
The eighteenx’18 site features video content created by Shahidi and NowThis News, as well as a user-friendly platform to register to vote.
It literally takes 20 minutes or less to register. No lie.
And, I know, registering to vote can seem like a nightmare. American bureaucracy has a lovely little way of making relatively simple processes seem like a multi-step, multi-dimensional journey to activate the heart stone that allows you access to the wormhole of voting. For short, call it voter suppression.
And, basically what I’m trying to get at is that the only way we can defeat voter suppression is by voting.
This is our chance. It may not be the moment when we can vote for a new president. But midterms are soooooo underrated. I’m talking Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams underrated. Like, of course, no disrespect to the Queen, we all know Beyoncé is the star of the show. She is the presidential election. But, Destiny’s Child would never have been a thing without Kelly and Michelle. For the whole thing to work, everyone was necessary. It’s the same thing with midterms.
Like Yara Shahidi said, “Control Congress, and you control the country.” Well, this is our chance to gain control. Of course we have larger battles ahead, and of course in a few years once again the Queen-Bey-level election will be back on our screens and in our minds; however, now is just as good a time, if not better, to make change for ourselves.
So yes, a whole new generation will be eligible to vote this election. And, if you “qualify” (literally the only major qualifications are that you are a citizen and that you are 18 or older), please register and please vote. And if you are 18, and a citizen, and attending college outside your state, make sure you either register to vote on campus or obtain an absentee ballot.
I know, it’s crazy. It’s a lot of power for us young people. It’s def wowza. It’s def independence. And it’s def along the lines of vive la resistance.
But, to all my 18 and up friends, it’s def time.
Jacob Kind is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying international relations, creative writing, and Arabic. He works at the Kelly Writers House and The Perception. He loves to draw, write, and create videos for his YouTube channel (Jaquibe Kind). He is a volunteer at Fox Chase Cancer Center and a tutor for English.