The importance of young people’s voices in the indyref debate

In Scotland there is often a disconnect between young people and politics.

I aim to bridge the gap that has been created and inspire young people to develop a real passion for change in our modern day society. I believe that today’s youth are repeatedly ignored in politics and are frequently painted in a negative light. We are the future generation and should therefore be able to affect decision making and have our views heard by policy makers.

ASSADKHAN

The main reason I’m involved with SAFY is because this is the biggest decision Scotland is going to take for 300 years. It is really important that young people engage in the referendum as we will be living with the result one way or another far longer than anyone else. I am also a member of Scottish Youth Parliament in which I represent Edinburgh East and I’m certainly finding more and more youngsters talking about what sort of country they want to be living in- which is great, but although teenagers are aware of the referendum, there aren’t as many involved. Furthermore, as a member of the Asian community living in Scotland, I think we should be doing a lot more to integrate into Scottish culture and be involved in UK politics.

Last year, I volunteered to help out at the Yes Scotland stall at the Edinburgh Mela. It was fantastic to see so many Asians helping out at the stall and it definitely did put a smile to my face to see people from all backgrounds involved in the referendum. I feel more multicultural events like the Mela need to be organised. It’s great to see all the communities getting together and it helps avoid racism and prejudice and encourages good citizenship.

In March I attended the FOSIS #indyref debate which took place at Strathclyde University. It had the two of the most senior Muslim politicians in Scotland debating Independence. Humza Yousaf MSP who is the Minister for External Affairs and International Development and also Anas Sarwar MP who is currently the Deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party. This was another example of Muslims being involved in the independence referendum.

I’m therefore inspired to be the youth officer for SAFY as I can do my best to engage young people and in particular engage young Scottish Asians. I aim to present a positive image of young people not only in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland and give you the opportunity to make a difference. We are underestimated in society; we are not shown the respect we deserve. This needs to change.

Assad Khan

MSYP Edinburgh East

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