On Saturday 16 November, hundreds of young people convened at the old Olympic Park in East London to take part in My Life My Say’s second annual Common Futures Forum.
My Life My Say (MLMS) is a youth-led, non-partisan charity on a mission to empower young people to participate in democracy. Fflur Sheppard, Senior Associate at DRD, was invited to contribute to the debate, and meet with under-30s from across the country who want to engage in political dialogue and discourse.
Particular highlights included a debate between the editor of the Daily Mirror, the founder of the slow news network Tortoise, the MD of a research agency and the founder of the Ramadan Tent Project. They were asked: “How can we disagree better online?” They said that social media, and the companies that run or advertise on the sites, benefit from division and disagreement. They shared concerns about “like” activism (liking or sharing something online) being seen as comparable to more traditional ways of effecting change.
Siemens UK MD Jurgen Maier talked about how the fourth industrial revolution brings opportunity for a generation who want to approach work differently, and Miss World 2006 Tatana Gregor won the audience over with her story of launching an NGO in the Czech Republic to help the ageing population.
Remain campaigner Gina Miller gave a personal and moving account of her path to activism, and imparted three key pieces of advice for young activists: look after yourself in order to stay effective and powerful (don’t burn the candle at both ends); don’t let the battle harden you, especially not to those you love (stay open and flexible); and stop apologising for your presence, but keep showing gratitude for your opportunities to effect change.