Generation Engage

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=”Director Spike Lee speaks to Generation Engage members during a Get Engaged Forum.”]How do you mobilize young people this election season? We hear it over and over again: “The apathy!” “The sloth!” “The lack of civic engagement!”

Generation Engage wants to tackle these issues from the bottom up. Adrian Talbott and Justin Rockefeller came from high-powered political families and went on to graduate from fancy universities. But, they actually don’t think that’s where the change is going to happen. They are interested in the 51 percent of 18-29-year-olds who are off college campuses or didn’t even go to college.

They started Generation Engage three years ago, before all the hoopla of this historic campaign cycle. By hiring locals to set up satellite community outreach programs, the organization sets up politically non-partisan meetings on topics most appropriate to a particular area. But Talbott and Rockefeller don’t want to dissolve like many “get-out to vote” organizations. They call themselves an initiative for “civic engagement,” and say they want to remind people that democracy will continue well after November’s presidential election.

Update: Watch the Live interview

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28 Responses to Generation Engage

  1. victor says:

    it a good thing to want to creat this engagement but the people are truely looking for a leader, someone and some purpose to follow them . that is why the young don’t get involed . so lets take back our government back from the dam people tat stole it.

  2. DJ in TX says:

    Good for the young people. They are the future of our country and world. We’ve stated for many years that young people are never enganged in our country or government. Now when they are active (as we asked them to be) and they voted against the establishment, we label as too naive to know any better. Guess what, didn’t we teach them? If they are so called, Naive, then it is OUR fault for letting them be naive.

    Keep up the good work and bring in as many young people as you can. My child’s (age 9) future is also in your hands.

  3. joe vernazza says:

    people are apathetic because of the lack of sincerity shown by most politicians. there is no trust. i personally think that instant run off voting would force politicians to walk the talk because it would enable a wider flow of ideas and voices and force politicians to keep their word.

    most voters choose least worst candidates (not me, go RALPH!) and those who don’t vote don’t do it for this reason.

    also, i think that debates need to be objective and NOT privately run. the stifling of voices in this country fails us as a “democracy”. if debates were broadcasted on a government tv channel and ONLY on government tv, there would be mandated equality for candidates who reach a certain percentage.

    what do you think about instant runoff voting and public funded debates.

  4. JOSH says:

    Obama’s personal pastor did more than anyone else to take the glow off his campaign by dismissing the Illinois senator as just “a politician.”

    “He goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician,” Wright said in his interview Friday night with PBS journalist Bill Moyers. “I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.”

  5. Relle says:

    Very Positive.

  6. bt says:

    I love the idea! But how, when all the “Rock the Vote” campaigns, high-school Government classes, and polititian attempts to connect have failed? What makes your plan different? Why will your plan succeed?

  7. Henry Miller, Cary, NC says:

    Personally, I don’t think people who either uninterested in, or capable of absorbing, a college education should even be allowed to vote, let alone encouraged to do so. What is it about ignorance that qualifies such people to form a reasoned opinion about the issues and candidates? Further, the young and ignorant seem perfectly content to vote for anyone who will promise them “free” things from government, either ignorant of, or indifferent to, the fact that someone is going to get stuck paying for their freebies.

    As far as I’m concerned, no one should be allowed to vote who doesn’t bear the cost of what they’re voting for–voting for someone else to buy you stuff is just theft, and childish as well.

  8. Willie A. Miller, Jr. says:

    What a Wonderful Initiative!

  9. Pingback: Celeb trail » Young People Who Rock: Operation Engage

  10. Jarrett K. Moore says:

    This is wonderful! Or as we non-college grads say, “this is the business!’ 51% huh? That’s a lot. Looks like the Rockefellers know how to spot an opportunity. If anyone from that firm reads this please reach out to us here in Los Angeles. Most of my friends are disinterested with college but want change in their civics. Link up with the Los Angeles Urban League.

  11. nicolelapin says:

    Hey – Just a thought…I wanted to open up the conversation to see what you think about young people and voting? Do you think the relationship is indifferent? Idealistic?

  12. Laura in CA says:

    As a 49 year old Dem-leaning white women who has been registered independent for ~last 10 years and voted in every election since I reached the age to vote, I am very proud of young voters and new and returning voters of all ages for becoming politically-informed and politically-influential and a force to be reckoned with. Its hypocrtical for others who criticized them as apathetic and uninvolved to now rebuff their involvement and dismiss them as naive. Its the “government of the people, by the people and for the people” not just the the older people.

  13. Gary Chandler in Canada says:

    The news media is reporting that young voters are ‘unreliable’. They use this in context to record number of young voters that Obama is attracting. Is there any truth to the notion that super delegates should not give any ‘weight’ to the youth vote because they might ‘play video games’ instead of voting in November?
    I am suspicious that this was thrown out there, like a kitchen sink, and the media swallowed it?. What are the facts about the commitment of young voters?
    If they are turning out in numbers for a primary, why would they stay home in a more crucial gerneral election? The future belongs to them, would they not be more motivated to give their voice in November?

  14. Cheryl says:

    Generation Engage is not a “Rock the Vote” organization. It focuses on civic engagement throughout the year, and during non election years also. It is important to understand that voting is a by-product of civic engagement, and it certainly isnt the only way to be civically engaged. Check out the website for more information. I personally know the Generation Engage outreach coordinator working out of Raleigh, NC, and he is awesome! His outreach efforts and inviting personality have made me really excited about the organization and what they are trying to acheive!

  15. Paul from Atlanta says:


    The MSM and pundits are underestimating the young voters as well as 1st time voters.

    They cannot figure the %’s at all.

    That is why the polls are always 4-5% off.

    BO will win in NOVEMBER and he will win TODAY

  16. Dustin Bodfish says:

    I think this is a good program for teens and young adults who dont goto college. People need to know politics and understand our goverment, we live in an age of ignorance and self consumption of money. People need to learn how to work together to make a better way. I beileve that Generation Engage is a good start.

  17. Dustin Bodfish says:

    I think that teens that don’t go to college need to be able to find and learn information about politics and our government. We live in an age of ignorance and self-consumption of money. We need to learn to work together to make a better way. I believe that Generation Engage is a good start.

  18. Jennifer Earls says:

    If young people are going to put more time into playing video games watching videos or going to clubs I would prefer for them not to vote you only hurt the process. I am 26 and I recently graduated from Appalachian State with a BS in political science so I take it upon myself to explain things to those in my community. I am a political junkie however, I have two kids and I know what happens in government affects them and myself. On the other hand I can not get one of my friends from the rural county, I now live in, to vote. I can not make them understand the importance of voting. The only thing I can do is tell them I am not going to listen when they complain about gas prices, crime (our area has one of the highest crime rates per capita in the state of NC), potholes, etc. I can’t make them understand how their vote relates to these issues. It actually goes back to their education in high school. The education provided here is horrible. I also believe the young people who are exercising their right to vote are voting either based on their parents party affiliation or a set of idealistic dreams. Obamas talk of change and hope is warm and fuzzy but I am not looking for warm and fuzzy I am looking for someone with real policy! Young people wake up just because he is closer to our age does not mean he relates to you, just because he shares your skin tones does not mean he relates to you, and just because he said, ‘I am going to make changes.” does not mean he can. How will he make the changes? I do not know of any groups we have locally that support young people voting and being involved in politics, but I encourage those around me to be engaged, learn about the candidates, watch a little news, because these candidates will make decisions that will affect your future. I want to know how McCain, Hillary, and Obama plan to provide health care or make it more feasible for me to get health care for my children and myself. I want to know how they are going to work with Congress and other government agencies to help me get back and forth to work with out spending one paycheck a month on gas. Young people should be interested in knowing what each candidate proposes to do for the economy and education. Currently student loans and grants are being decreased. Even with a college education jobs are scarce and companies want only those with five years experience or more. Budget cuts are effecting government hiring. The number of students graduating with teaching degrees is on the rise but there is no money to pay them. Young people should want to know if these candidates are going to propose a change for them. The housing crisis will affect young people, you can not live on campus or with mommy and daddy forever! Lastly, I want young people to understand those running for president will not have the final decision in everything, contrary to popular belief. So change is good, but the ability to work with other areas of government, Congress, and corporations is vital to the change. We must look at and evaluate who is most qualified to do that.

  19. jenna says:

    ithink what your doing is an awesome way to get youngins to vote. And even if they don’t want to vote for either party, i think that by more people voicing whjat they want, our country will have a better understanding of what this country needs. keep it up.

  20. Sean D says:

    Wow. Good for you. What a good thing. To find lost people. In our city they just built a cutting edge looking Trade School. There are no simple cars to work on anymore.

  21. Cris Sierra says:

    This is a great program for teens and young adults who dont goto college. We need to learn to work together to make a better way. I believe that Generation Engage is a good start. Is really good people like Spike Lee helping on this kind of programme because he sees life and the way it is.

  22. Melissa from PA says:

    I think it’s important that young people get out and vote. However, they need to be educated about the issues and the people they are voting for. There are too many young voters who know nothing and end up voting for the person their parents tell them to. I am 23 years old and I have friends like that. It is SAD! If young people want to make a difference they need to become more engaged into politics. If they don’t take the time to do so, I don’t feel they should be voting at all.

    I wish that more people my age could see that Hillary can bring us the change that we need. It’s great to dream big, but does Obama have what it takes to make those dreams come true? He is a brilliant speaker, but words won’t bring change. ACTIONS WILL! Hillary is prepared to take the actions we need to fix this country.

    It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, it’s time for a Clinton to clean up after the second!!

  23. spencer says:

    A new movement needs to begin now: 95% of whites need to vote race in the fall election…..

  24. Jamaine says:

    I hope people who have posted comments come back and read some of the responses.

    Despite who you believe is the most experienced, this election has brought about significant change. New voters are taking the election back and holding politicians to thier promises of change. Many people use the ignorant notion that Obama has no experience to run the country. Bush had plenty of experience.

    Every American has a right to vote, who are we to judge their way of voting. Generation Engage is a crucial step in connecting the generations. Most people forget that lives were lost for the right to vote.

    Let’s stop making this a personal attack on our own beliefs/insecurities. Although most people opposed the war in Iraq there was a time when everyone began saying ‘Support Our Troops’. Let’s be consistant and ‘Support Our Dem Party’ (or Rep).

  25. qweee says:

    Another brain washing…
    Only person can vote who own a property or the business! Period.
    If you do not have it, you do not understand enough to vote!
    May be enough to be a liberal/Marxist voter.
    Child at 18 has no clue in life.
    Bad life experience does not count!

  26. Talented youth says:

    You guys all rock….
    It is amazing to see the talent of our youth. Luckily the internet NOW has some venues for you to really shine.
    We developed a new website, which is a free site for artists of all types to place their work for free. We are responding to a need in the art community… a place to put your work for free.
    Network with others, display your talent in art, music, photography, etc. We want to network talented individuals like yourself on our site

  27. dan from new york says:

    People at eighteen may not have much life experience, i give them(us) credit for getting involved. We are the next generation of voter,s the next 10 or 20 presidents are based on who we vote for and who we want to run this country. Of course there are some who don’t take us seriously and think we don’t know a thing about politics but dont knock us for trying that is the only way to learn.

  28. Penisa says:

    outgoing influence buddy. trust to get more from your side 🙂

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