By Amir Q. Lewis
CCC Journalism Program
As they prepare to vote for the first time, members of a new generation of voters – millennials – speak out about the issues that matter to them in the 2016 presidential election.
Tianna Mendez, 21, a first-time voter, said she didn’t care for either of the major party candidates – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump – and was strongly considering voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Queanna Shields, 22, a second-time voter, said “Bernie or bust,” noting she would have preferred Sen. Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee.
Mendez and Shields weren’t enthused about the upcoming election but said they would do their duty and vote in it.
As for the qualities she wants in a presidential candidate, Lyric Jones, 21, a first-time voter, listed “family oriented, cares about people, and charismatic.” She said she didn’t believe any of the candidates embody those qualities.
Shields stated she believed Clinton is a “political puppet” and Trump “just isn’t qualified to be president.”
Another topic that has drawn concern from millennials during the campaign is same sex marriage. Clinton said she will fight for full federal equality on LGBTQ issues while Trump said he’s more in favor of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Keith Dupre’, 23, a second-time voter, stated, “Let people marry whoever makes them happy.”
The topic of separation of church and state has also received attention.
“Church should be in schools and use it to teach love for everyone,” said Dupre’.
Jayannah Brown, 21, a first-time voter, said, “Church and state should be separate but I do believe people should be allowed to freely practice their religion.”
Millenials have also been discussing the Black Lives Matter movement and the racial climate in the country.
“Things are not as bad as the media fires them up to be. Living day to day things aren’t as they seem on TV,” Brown said. Brown emphasized problems do need to be addressed but conditions have improved over the years.
Gabby Phillips, 22, a second-time voter, added, “Police should have more strict training and screening.”
Mendez said Clinton is probably the most equipped to deal with this issue of the candidates but only time will tell who actually is.