It’s easy to wonder about the future of our nation, or even the world, when we observe younger people engaged with their devices 24/7, seemingly uninterested in anything but the latest “trending” or selfie. How will future generations thrive given what seems to many as their selfish attitude of entitlement, wanting all the perks and rewards without having to exert any particular effort, much less actual work?
And yet . . .just this year, in the midst of the pandemic, a 26 year old, Jacob Azevedo, was so disturbed by the violence done to Asian-Americans in his Oakland community, that he turned to those very “devices,” to help. Via social media, he offered his willingness to walk with anyone in Oakland's Chinatown neighborhood so that they would feel safe. In a matter of days, an astonishing 300 volunteers signed up to offer their services as well, and so it was that “Compassion in Oakland” was born. A community healing itself, an endeavor created by an individual who used the technology, the communication apparatus of his time.
If you look at the pictures of the volunteers on the Compassion in Oakland website, you can’t help but notice how most of them are young. Apparently not as entitled or selfish as some of us have thought, but using their devices as intended: to connect, not exclude.
Is this to say that all younger people are so community minded, so giving of self? No. But that’s not the point. All it takes is a few dedicated, committed, open-minded individuals with courage and conviction to pave the way for many others. Their approach, their way of doing so may be very different from that of previous generations, but then, isn’t that what youth is all about? To bravely go where none have gone before?