As a little girl, my parents often told me about the beauties of America; how the opportunities were limitless and anyone could become anything that they desired. They would tell me about cities like New York and Washington, D.C., and how they were places where you could invoke change and see your ideas flourish throughout the world. I never thought I would experience these places like I have today. But with the National Millennial Community, I have gained the opportunity to collaborate with top executives and speak about our generational beliefs and values because we as millennials have come forth with a mission: to change the conversation about our generation.
We started our conversation in New York, arriving at the Advertising Education Foundation greeted by a seemingly curious executive board. Each community member began by introducing themselves, launching a conversation about young advertising and marketing talent as well as effective organization recruitment tactics. Our purpose was to show them that talent can be found anywhere if millennials are given the opportunity to thrive. With each diverse perspective offered by the National Millennial Community members, came further reflection from the AEF board. Our stories, struggles, and sincerity filled the room and struck them, for they had begun to recognize that the millennial intellect of America was not solely represented in the top schools. This drew a true picture of an America consisting of millennials who hold the potential to make change but struggle to be recognized. Our presence was an authentic illustration and validation of the diverse, diligent faces of the millennial generation. Stats and data about millennials were no longer enough to overpower the millennial voices within that meeting. We had successfully begun to change the conversation, but more importantly we had opened the door to a continuous dialogue.
As the day went on, we continued our quest to challenge the conventional conversation regarding millennials at Nielsen. The company had released a report prior to our arrival in NYC that compartmentalized our generation into three categories: Dependent Adult, Independent Adult, and Starting a Family. We challenged the idea of defining our entire generation into three subset groups. We sparked a debate about how the word dependent was a title given to any millennial living at home, and as a millennial living at home, I personally felt labeling me as dependent was questionable. Although home based, I, like many millennials in the discussion, work multiple jobs and go to school. I may live at home, but I do not consider myself “dependent.” We were able to provide this insight, and exchange dialogue regarding why corporations attempt to label and define members of the millennial generation. We challenged misjudgment and created clarity by inspiring new thought and direction towards our generation.
We set off to Washington, D.C., the White House to be exact. We were not spectators or tourists, rather millennials with a purpose to question political outreach to our generation. As we walked down the marble floored halls, we stood inspired and honored to be within the walls of change. A sense of duty to our generation, to represent them purposefully, filled our spirits. With the question of minimal millennial voter turnout arising, the community confronted the misconception that millennials lack the desire to be a part of change and progression. In order to motivate millennials to participate, government and corporations have to ensure that millennial voices are heard and taken seriously. For this to occur, conventional paradigms and platforms offered by the government have to shift.
As a grown woman, I see the beauties in America my parents had once expressed. I see that opportunity is truly limitless and that those who reach towards their goals often fulfill their dreams. However, I have learned individuals categorize people for simplicity. They try to define the drive, desire, and dreams of an entire people. I have learned that opportunities do lie within this nation, but at the cost of breaking biases. As long as this is the reality we live in, the National Millennial Community will provide a powerful voice. We will forever continue to change the conversation.