The very first run of #16tovote on the 16th was a year ago today! On that day, this event began as a sort of experiment to promote the cause to lower the voting age on Twitter. For a first run, it already showed promise, with our veteran members as well as interested new people jumping right into the fun of spreading the word to their followers about lowering the voting age, using the #16tovote hashtag. The second run in March saw almost three times the number of tweets and participants as the first! Every month on the 16th, we continued doing it, with some runs better than others, with the regular participants sticking with it each month, with brand new people first discovering the event and expressing the delight at seeing an often-overlooked youth rights issue have a dedicated day each month for its promotion. It even got a section in the 2009-2010 NYRA Annual Report!

So I’d like to take this time to thank you all very much for helping to make this event the success it has been! Whether you have 10 followers or 1000 followers, your #16tovote tweets and retweets have still contributed to the event all the same, your solidarity and dedication still very important.

While making a lower voting age a reality will of course require far more work and time than merely posting a tweet, and we certainly invite you to start a NYRA chapter in your school or community to work on it locally if you’re so inclined, it is through smaller acts of raising awareness and declaring support that helps the bigger campaigns gain a vital foothold. It is through speaking up about your support of lowering the voting age that encourages others to speak up as well, others who may have been holding their tongues on the issue for fear that it’s just some crazy idea of their own that nobody would ever support. These people feel alone, and it is up to us to tell them they are very much NOT alone, they are one of us, and lowering the voting age isn’t some crazy fringe idea but a very real cause and goal, proposed by many states and countries, a reality in several. We just need to reach out as far as we can with our message. That is what #16tovote on the 16th is all about!

Thank you again, everyone, for making the first year of #16tovote on the 16th such a success! Here’s hoping over this next year it will continue to grow and spread, continue to inform, continue to spark dialogue, continue to change minds, continue to remind everyone that our society belongs to the youth as well as the adults, and youth therefore should have just as much a say in it!