Proud to be Gen Z

Illustration by Shelsey Braswell

People born into Gen Z, 1997 to 2012, seem to feel ashamed of belonging to it. Yet, so many events have taken place during their lifetime that have monumentally changed the world. Not to mention there has been a major turn in beliefs, values and actions that set this generation far apart from millennials.

Although it is a generalization, millennials tend to be more apathetic regarding most topics. They are either apathetic or they talk about what should be done and put no real effort toward actions that result in change.

However, I believe the same cannot be said for Gen Z. The upcoming generation has accepted and encouraged protesting and speaking up. It is no longer tolerable to simply talk about change and do nothing. For Gen Z, action is the new waiting.

However, new values mean new obstacles as well. Gun violence, cyberbullying, body shaming, LGBTQ+ rights, and navigating the world through a laptop or phone have proven to be the generation's biggest foes.

Just like every generation before us though, Gen Z is overcoming adversity and transforming the world for the generations to come.

Generation X was raised during the time of segregation and The Civil Rights Movement where nonviolent protest came to the forefront of the world. Generation X grew up during the Cold War, lived through the fall of the Berlin Wall and witnessed the world when Northern Ireland finally made peace.

Gen Z was born into a world of uncertainties. I was born just months before the attack on 9/11 and grew up during the Great Recession.

Undoubtedly, the terrorist attack on 9/11 left a deep scar on the United States. Hearing my parents talk about a time when security and restrictions at the airport were nothing compared to how they are now is mind-boggling.

Listening to my grandparents talk about how hitchhiking was normal and OK before serial killers made their presence known in the '70s seems unreal. Also, considering how women's rights were nonexistent when the older generations were growing up is extremely upsetting, to say the least.

Indeed, times before our births were very different and the start of the newer generations marked a drastic turning point in history. Still, the hardships Gen Z faces are in an entirely new realm. The point is not that Gen Z has a harder life than other generations, although it could be argued that we do, in some ways.

Life has improved for many during the time of Gen Z. The legalization of gay marriage, the self-love movement and anti-cyberbullying efforts have all come into fruition during the generation's upbringing.

The birth of a new sense of humor with internet memes and social media platforms has given the world a new way to laugh and to make others laugh. This, given the current circumstances, has proven to be extremely helpful.

However, previous generations seem to enjoy bashing Gen Z because of the difference in generational difficulties. It is unfair and cruel to shame the existence of a group of people purely because of the time frame they were born into.

Unwavering support and loyalty to people is a priority and nothing short of that will be accepted or allowed without a fight.

Gen Z is the future of the world and has proven, thus far, that they have capable hands and a voice that will be heard whether people like it or not. There are many reasons to be proud of one's place in Gen Z. Being ashamed of growing up in such a different climate from our parents when the world has only bettered from our existence is pointless.