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What Does Generation Z Think About Major Issues Facing Us Today?

Since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month, we have seen young people come out to engage in the national political conversation like never before.  

They’ve been called Generation Z, or Post-Millennials or the iGeneration. It’s a generation is so young still, no one knows who will name them yet.

But what do they think about the major issues facing us today?

A new report released at the beginning of the year digs into that question. It’s called “Diversity, Division, Discrimination: The State of Young America” and it was produced by the Public Religion Research Institute and MTV.

And its findings are somewhat surprising. According to the survey, experiences with discrimination are pretty common, but this generation is more likely to intervene when they see it happening — and to talk about it. They feel pressure to conform to gender stereotypes that are becoming increasingly vague and — this is the one that gets me — they are optimistic about the future of the country.

So I wanted to talk to some young people about all of this. So, I reached out to some local high schools and gathered four of them to come in studio and hash it out.

They are Jacob Martinez from Dobson High School, Lauren Schuster who goes to Paradise Honors High School, and Fredian Tuyisenge and Rosario Peralta who both go to North High School in Phoenix.

I started by asking them about their experiences with discrimination.

The study found that one in four young people report that they have been targeted or treated unfairly in the last year because of their race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status or religious belief.

And these students were no different, though they said their experiences with discrimination have been more implicit than explicit.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.