Young People Respond to the State of the Union: Keep Pushing Biden to Take Youth Priorities Seriously

This week, President Biden took the stage to deliver his first State of the Union Address where he spoke directly to the American people about his vision for the nation. And then it was our turn. 

There were major hits like Biden’s enthusiasm to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to join the Supreme Court and President Biden addressing COVID-19 on day one. The American Rescue Plan provided the essential overdue help that young people needed – especially Black, Latinx, and Indigenous youth and their families who have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. 

But there were also major misses. At one point, his congressional colleagues cheered as Biden declared the answer to the recent spike in crime rates is to provide more funding to the police. We want more care for our communities, not more criminalization. Biden also failed to mention policy issues important to young people like the Build Back Better bill and student debt. A national poll we conducted in January showed that the majority of young people – 62% – support some form of student loan debt forgiveness. President Biden promised to deliver relief through debt cancellation and it’s time for him to follow through. President Biden can use his executive power to take action right now to deliver for the people. See how you can take action through our Dreams Not Debt campaign.

President Biden addressed the nation, then it was our turn.

On Instagram Live, Alliance Executive Director Dakota Hall joined Marlén Mendoza from Youth Action Hour & Young People Address the Nation and Eve Levenson from Youth In Gov to talk about President Biden’s address and what it meant for young people. They discussed what issues we still want to see action on and how we can keep the Biden Administration accountable to young voters who will be a key voting bloc for years to come.

“We have to make sure the Biden Administration is taking youth priorities seriously…I’m talking about investment into schools, investment into higher education, investment into youth mental health services, housing, food…Everything is interconnected.”

Dakota Hall, Executive Director

Our Live Reactions

Young People Address the Nation

Alliance Network organizers shared their own messages on the state of the union with Young People Address the Nation.

On Twitter, Loud Light Community Organizer Logan Byrd shared her thoughts on the importance of upholding our democracy, and giving young people a seat at the table.

Speaking on Justice, Mississippi Votes organizer Taylor Turnage said, “true justice means the fair treatment of people of all races resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.”

And over on Instagram, Izzy Milch from Forward Montana highlights three revolutionary individuals that inspire them

“I think a lot about how so much of queer organizing and the gay pride movement sort of coalesced around gay marriage as ‘the big thing,’ but that’s not all it’s about. It’s about our rights to be alive and live these lives in public, so I think a lot about [Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy] and continuing their work today.”