By Jaelyn Sotelo, Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change organizer
Politics is already an intense field, without the complication of a global pandemic. As a grassroots organizer, I’ve invested my blood, sweat, and tears into championing for causes that affect my community. Organizing isn’t always easy, but it is always worthwhile. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Blue Future’s Spring for Progress and Change Advocacy Program allowed me to unlock my full potential as a young person in politics. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with other organizers from around the country, and gain perspective on the progressive policies that are critical to ensuring freedom and justice for every American.
For far too long, youth have been pushed aside and told every excuse in the book as to why politics isn’t meant for them. Our time is now, and Blue Future is connecting young people to progressive campaigns to elect decision makers that are willing to work in solidarity, and listen to our demands. Youth voices are essential. We deserve to have a seat at the decision-making table and be included in political processes. This program has taught me so much about how to elevate my voice for change, and has given me the chance to work for progressive issues that matter.
Organizing for change has been such an incredible experience, and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been connected with through Blue Future. Through Blue Future, I was able to get connected as an organizer for my next political campaign. I have been able to phonebank to talk to voters and hear their stories, what matters the most to them, and how we can help.
Blue Future and the progressive movement is one of community, determination, and support. We rally together for one another and help support our fellow progressives by phone banking for their campaigns, sharing their social media content, and even creating mutual aid funds when someone falls on difficult times. Our movement, and our coalition of young people, will continue to grow and thrive.
Young changemakers just starting out can get involved by joining organizations that reflect the values you believe in. You can start with attending educational webinars, writing Letters to the Editors, designing social media posts about issues you care about, and more. The possibilities are limitless. Our movement always has room for those just beginning on their own personal journey of advocacy, change, and self.
Those in power who choose to disconnect from young people calling upon them to work with them for change consistently try to take away power from one of the most diverse generations this country has ever seen. The intersection of crisis we have witnessed this year from the coronavirus pandemic, to a country facing a racial reckoning have seen the need to engage young people and show them how to recognize their own civic power that they hold.
Blue Future is working towards breaking down the barriers that prevent young people from unleashing this power, and adequate representation of young people in all political processes nationwide. This is why I do this work. Youth voice needs to be inclusive and encompass all of the different social locations that represent us.
While organizing with Blue Future, I have also learned critical professional development skills, including tips for networking and resume building. I have had the chance to develop my leadership, organizing skills, and belief systems while continuing to transform the political landscape to be rooted in equity, justice, and compassion.
The time for change is now, and I plan on taking the importance of these progressive issues and to continue organizing, and some day, even run for public office myself. Blue Future has fueled the movement for young people to lead and mobilize by the thousands. Young people will continue to ensure that progressive policies are heard and implemented all across the country. This is the critical work that we do as organizers.
The Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change Program energized us to continue to strive to do more, to never settle for less, and to keep investing in the next generation of young leaders. The training I received through this program was incredibly beneficial, and will continue to serve me well in whatever path I take as a young person in the political field.
Young people will continue to fight for a just world, and influence politics through meaningful social movements for years to come. I will continue to use the experience gained through Blue Future to advocate for a progressive agenda, bring the power back to the people, and eventually run for office to hear the voices of every American to imagine a better future, in solidarity.
About Jaelyn: Jaelyn Sotelo (she/her) is a high school senior from Vancouver, Washington. She will be attending the University of Washington in the fall to major in communications with a minor in political science. She is a progressive organizer who has been a part of several political campaigns, including Students for Bernie Sanders, Jon Ossoff for the U.S. Senate, and currently, Holly McCormack’s congressional race in Northwest Georgia. She serves as the Outreach Director at The Blue Project, an organization dedicated to encouraging youth activism, progressive ideas, and restoring our democracy.