TeenVogue | Generation Wars Between Boomers, Millennials, And Gen Z Are A Distraction

Meyiya Coleman, 22, describes familial connections to the issues she organizes around. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, she says she was about eight years old when she started engaging in community activism with her family. At a young age, she lost a cousin she loved dearly when he was gunned down at a gas station blocks from her grandmother’s house. Later, her grandmother — who Coleman says was her best friend — survived a gunshot to the head. Her grandmother began joining Coleman, who is a youth organizer at Communities United, in speaking to legislators to advocate for gun violence prevention. When her grandmother passed away, Coleman used this work as a means of coping. “Just to know that I’m continuing something that she started is truly amazing to me,” she tells Teen Vogue.

A frequent topic of conversation at Communities United is the idea of people power, Coleman says. Without it, “You will never have no one come together,” she adds. “And I believe that having intergenerational work within your organization is definitely how you organize and really put that people power into effect.”

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