What We Want from the Next President

Mar. 3, 2016 / By

By VoiceWaves Youth Reporters

Ed. Note: The youth vote in California is on a downward trend, with 2014 setting record lows with only 8 percent of eligible youth showing up at the polls. With the stakes high in this current presidential race, the youth vote could prove decisive in determining the winner. VoiceWaves asked its youth reporters what issues are important to them and what they want to see from the next president.

Well, someone needs to say it: The United States is a white man’s nation. White men stole the land, white men made the laws, white men intentionally constructed a system of oppression to make sure all other peoples are deemed inferior by the standard of white supremacy.

This racist system is rigorously practiced in every aspect of life. Today, we see the Flint water crisis as a perfect example of environmental racism.

niaBlack people make up 56.6 percent of Flint’s population. To put matters more into perspective, black people only make up 14.2 percent of Michigan’s population as a whole. Is this a coincidence? Is it a horrible, tragic mistake … an honest accident at its worst?


This kind of “slip-up” would never happen in Beverly Hills. It is no coincidence that poor areas with a large minority demographic experience environmental tragedies more frequently.

If the next president not only acknowledges the fact that we live in a white supremacist country but implements practices to start the long, laboring task of reversing it, the world would be such a different place in the future. Only then might we have the American dream.

— Nia Thompson, 17


IMG_0252Obama said that immigration reform is “about who we are as a country and who we want to be for future generations.” He wants to give immigrants a chance because you never know what good they are capable of doing in America. They can make our country better.

I feel that immigrants should get a chance to get their paperwork together and go through the process so they can know how it feels to be an American citizen.

The next president should also consider making college free. Some families are not fortunate enough to send their child to a good college, which I believe should be free for at least two years. I think this would give opportunity for the people that can’t afford it to get a good education that would lead to a well-paid job. But there should also be a limit on tuition costs. It should be no more than $23,000 for an education, including at universities.

— Lola White, 16

profilepicIn a little over a year, I will be heading to college. My peers and I face a situation where the price of college costs more than the salary of the average American. And with today’s curriculum becoming so difficult, being accepted into a college is almost as difficult as paying for it.

Of course there are candidates who say they want to tackle student debt by lowering the cost of loans or textbooks or tuition, but in reality, making city college free will prove most effective.

The Long Beach College Promise program, for example, offers two free semesters at Long Beach City College. That means every single one of the nearly five thousand students at my high school has the chance to attend one year of city college tuition free. This not only gives them the option to save money, but to receive an education without finance as an obstacle.

Such miniscule advances in the right direction are examples of how any president today can tackle this issue.
— Ashley Adamo, 17


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VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of community health issues and activate change.