Millennials In Manatee Make A Difference

Millennials In Manatee Make A Difference

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Alicia Chalmers
Millennials are defined as the demographic cohort that immediately followers “Gen X ,“ born between 1980–2000.

A community conversation -- Inspired by the Harwood practice -- is when you gather a small group of people and ask them a series of specific questions about what matters most in their community.

Recently, a community conversation conducted by Manatee County Libraries was held with the Manatee Millennial Movement (M3), a group of millennial-aged county employees. The goal was to help with long-range planning efforts. The community conversation was composed of 16 millennials and skillfully facilitated by Erika Dow and Jyna Johnson, both Gen Xers who are employees of the Library system.

I was witness to this dynamic conversation which focused on affordable housing and safety.

Affordable housing being an issue that affects them personally as they mutually agreed that approximately up to 50% of their income was going to housing which is an issue for staying in the area/community.

Safety, another issue used broadly which encompassed inclusivity and diversity, sparked an engaging conversation. “One way to help ensure safety: don’t treat crime as a social problem, but more as an economic problem not because criminals are bad but because there is little economic opportunity.” – From the community conversation

An interesting thing that made this conversation so unique is that this group had the willingness to address these issues, obstacles, feelings, and didn’t “come with an answer” about how to create change, while also having the perspective of being a government /county employee. This perspective gave them a lens that there are unavoidable stereotypes with government, but they know how hard government is working to find solutions and opportunities for all residents within the community.

Millennials are aware of their negative stereotypes which the Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, etc. had when they were the youngest demographic group being agents for change. I left that community conversation feeling hopeful and proud for the Millennials that live in our community. They know what they want in their community and they do not want to wait around for others to make it happen; they want to be a part of the change they want to see in their community and in the world. I am confident our community will be a better place with their passion and leadership and I am certainly thankful for Marvelous Manatee Millennials.

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