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Politics & Public Policy

Youth Forum: Missing Faces: Creating a Reflective Democracy

Thursday, January 11, 2018
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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"There is nothing more valuable than the enthusiasm of youth. If you don’t have a club, I would challenge you to start one." – Shontel Brown

The United States is on its way to becoming a minority-majority nation. Currently, millennials make up 83.1 million Americans, exceeding the 75.4 million baby boomers, and representing more than one quarter of the nation’s population. The size is complemented with great diversity – 44.2 percent are part of a minority race or ethnic group. They potentially have the greatest political power as a voting bloc, but this largest and most diverse segment of the population is not voting.

While the faces of voters continue to diversify rapidly, those leading American politics have not. The average age of elected officials in federal government has fluctuated between 53 and 63 since 1945. Seventy-one percent of elected officials are men, 90 percent are white, and 65 percent are white men. In fact, white men have eight times as much political power as women of color. This trend is evident in Ohio as 39 percent of the population consists of white men, and yet they comprise 67 percent of elected officials.

This phenomenon isn't just limited to race and gender. Other identities are under- represented in American politics including members of the LGTBQ+ community, although their numbers have been increasing.

How can we create a government that is more reflective of the American population? And how can young people, people of color, women, and other underrepresented groups be empowered to enter into the political arena? Join us to hear from elected officials and experts from traditionally underrepresented groups as they share their stories and successes.

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