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Millennial Matters: Understanding campus activism

Matthew Gush

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Campus protests, Black Lives Matter, and other social justice campaigns have dominated the news for almost two years, following the police shooting of Ferguson, Missouri teen, Michael Brown.

So it's no surprise that a UCLA survey of college freshman found that 97 percent of students  witnessed at least one protest before their first year.

A further nine percent said there's a good chance they'll take part in a demonstration before graduation.

Why is Gen Y one of the most active generations in half-a-century?

Three millennials shared their thoughts. Here are some highlights.

Tyree Boyd-Pates

“There’s always going to be a reactionary response to racism, discrimination, sexism and transphobia at all times. And what we’ve realized is that, whenever there is some kind of backlash, students are beginning to realize that they have an agency that they must assert, and with that agency and that assertion, they know what they have a voice that they can wield to transform their universities and campuses...”

Tyree Boyd-Pates
Tyree Boyd-Pates





Destiny Caro

"Every so often, when you start to see the back of history [and you see] this [hasn't] been possible before — why do we feel like we have equal rights now? Even though we don't. I think we — kind of — look back and reflect on ourselves and where we are ... we want more out of this. We don't want to hide, we want to be ourselves. Everyone else gets to be themselves, and we feel like we get the right to do so also." 

Destiny Caro
Destiny Caro


Gloria Alonzo

"Social media allows visibility. It allows information to travel in — I daresay —in seconds ... I'll talk about Black Lives Matter. That has started a movement across the nation. Different cities have organized protests just through Twitter. Social media is a big part of our everyday lives, and then especially now is helping activism and activists be able to move quicker and I guess that kind of intimidates higher up people."