Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

GET involved

Cast & crew. From right: Rebel Mariposa, Caitlin O’Brien, Ashley Smith, Kathy Miner, LaurenBrowning, Melody De La Garza, B.Kay Richter, Denise Hernandez. Photo courtesy of GET Texas

Local organization uses its platform to get millennials out to vote.

There is a particular group of individuals who hold a great deal of power they don’t know they have. This group is the most racially diverse generation in American history. They are said to have a high tolerance for diversity in race and other social and ethnic groups. This particular group is the future of American politics. This group is the millennial generation, and they hold the significant power of voting, because they are the largest living generation. However, this group has exhibited high rates of voter apathy, which generally indicates a lack of care for politics exhibited through their low voter turnout rates–one being the 15 percent of eligible Millennials who voted in the 2014 gubernatorial election. Many organizations have tried to combat this issue but to no avail. However, the San Antonio grassroots non-profit organization Growing Empowered Together (GET) is trying a different approach— an art-based approach that enlists the help of film and social media to present relevant voter issues to millennial voters.

Executive director Lauren Brown. Photo courtesy of GET Texas

“Millennials are the focus of our work. They’re the future of this city, and we value their personal stories, their challenges and their opinions about the public policies that affect them. Sadly, not enough young people are civically engaged, in part because they feel that their voices aren’t heard or don’t matter to decision makers,” says executive director of GET Lauren Browning. GET has an all-female team made up of local multitalented individuals, as well as an all-youth film crew that works and trains in broadcast production at the City of San Antonio’s television studio.

As part of their efforts, GET has created and produced MillennialMatters, a monthly television show that highlights important social issues that are most salient to the progressive millennial San Antonio community. The show has brought some of San Antonio’s sharpest, most outspoken and artistic leaders to the forefront through the show which currently airs on Public Access Television. This month, Millennial Matters will shine a spotlight on San Antonio’s vibrant LGBTQIA community with their episode titled “From the inside, OUT.”

“Our city’s queer community is perhaps even more diverse than that of other major cities, because of San Antonio’s predominantly Latino population,” says Browning.

The LGBTQIA community is at the forefront of many of the most germane social movements of today, from woman’s rights to the transgender bathroom wars.

“This year, the Texas Legislature attempted to pass a slew of bills that would be highly discriminatory to the LGBTQIA community, perhaps most notably the so-called ‘Bathroom Bill.’ Unfortunately, hate crimes, bullying and harassment against members of the LGBTQIA community have also risen sharply. Some of these unfair actions have directly impacted our friends, colleagues, families and neighbors,” continued Browning.

The episode will delve into the lives, thoughts and beliefs of two LGBTQIA youth who are leading highly constructive lives. With their down-to-earth and everted approach, GET expects to provide viewers with a panorama that will stand to eliminate fear and immobilize support for the LGBTQIA community. On Saturday, Dec. 15, GET will host an open screening and film chat at La Botanica bar.

The screening will rally special guests Robert Salcido, a proud Latino and LGBTQIA activist; episode hosts spokesperson Denise Hernandez, transgender activist Ashley Smith, and queer artavist and owner of La Botanica Rebel Mariposa. This isn’t just a regular screening. It will consist of a raffle for an awesome undisclosed prize, the rousing sounds of award winning DJ Donnie Dee, a chance to meet and greet several prideful organizations and a chance to try an original mixed drink made exclusively for the event. If you’re looking for an event to inundate yourself in an atmosphere that will facilitate an aura of acceptance, openness and warmth, this is the event for you.

“We hope to increase support for the LGBTQIA community by showing that, as President FDR said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,’” said Browning.

For those 21 and over, GET is offering this event free of charge, although any donation, large or small, is appreciated. The event begins at 6 p.m. For more information about the event, GET can be found on Facebook @GETTexas.

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