I am inspired by the energy spent by youth voters on the Bernie Sanders campaign. The Democratic and Republican parties cannot and will not speak to the issues of the millennial generation, and Sanders’ choice to run his campaign within the confines of the Democratic Party stifled his ability to end up on the presidential ballot.

I realized the organizing power of the millennial generation during my participation in the “Occupy Maine” movement from 2011-13, where I met many informed and passionate peers. Millennial issues such as economic and racial inequality, employment, student debt and pollution will not be addressed by the status quo of the two major parties.

As a generation, we need to unite against “left” and “right” and “conservative” and “progressive” labels.

Conservative to what end? I want to conserve natural resources – our air and water – and believe in the power of self-determination. I want to bring our war dollars home to repair and improve our infrastructure through roads and solar and wind technology built by Americans to make the United States energy independent.

How are millennial voters “progressive”? Are we progressing to a world run by drones and supercomputers, or are we progressing to a humanist future where we lift other humans out of poverty and disease?

I am really excited to build coalitions of young people from all different backgrounds and opinions. For young people facing a bleak future, desire to act for the common good is better than apathy any day. The unification of the millennial movement began with Occupy and continues through the Sanders campaign. Millennials will have to keep the activist momentum going through community organizing and local control to fill the void left (foolishly) by the Democratic Party.

Holly Seeliger

Portland