We asked Gen Z New Yorkers about their ideas of inclusion, diversity, and redefining the phrase "We The People".



What Does "We The People" Mean To You?

Politics may be inherently divisive, but we’re here to challenge that. Below, Milk fam photographer Ethan Halpern went out on the streets of NYC to hear from Gen Z about their ideas of inclusion, diversity, and redefining the phrase “We The People”. Our M.O. for 2019? We are stronger together than we are divided. 

“We The People” is a project I created to start a conversation about equality in our country. “We The People” is the first three words of the Constitution, the document that sets our fundamental principles and how we are governed. Today, our country is the most divided in recent memory and will likely continue to be unless we come together and realize what we need to do to be one.

I made these shirts, gave them to a diverse group of people to wear them, and then we talked: about what the phrase “We The People” means to them, how they’ve been affected by governmental policy, and why inclusion is so important. What does the phrase “We The People” mean to you?

Kate Parker Lentz (left)

The election of Trump definitely opened my eyes in the world of politics. As a woman coming from an immigrant family, it made me pay attention to politics as well as the many boxes people are put in throughout their lives.

Inclusion is important for the obvious reason that we shouldn’t leave people out. Going deeper, inclusion is essential for learning about other cultures and ideas. Inclusion allows for a deeper understanding and a more compassionate world.

Matin Kazemi (right)

“We The People” means inclusivity, community, and diversity. It unites everyone no matter of societal classifications and labels.

Policy has limited my families ability to travel, go back home, and the administration has cast a negative light on those within my Middle Eastern community. I have never felt so isolated from the people who run our country, yet so connected with my peers and activists.

Now more than ever, we must listen to silenced voices and decide to stay informed.

Anthony Caruso (left)

[Inclusion] means sticking together. Why not treat everyone as equals?

Anja Reeber (right)

As a white person in the United States, I have not been affected by policy relating to the issues and injustices that others of color face. In recognition of my privilege, I know that I cannot sit quietly, for it takes the voices of all to speak for what is right and just.


Natasha Duran (left)

“We The People” means “All The People”. No matter what identity or the race or the class the person may be, everybody is included, everybody is respected, and everybody is unified.

Alexis Williams (right)

The phrase “We The People” for me means representing and serving for all citizens and giving them justice. When I hear this phrase I primarily think about people who are disenfranchised and oppressed, thus anyone who is not a cis white male and wealthy. I think of people of color.

When the oppressed have platforms to share their voice, the more understanding, tolerance, and acceptance everyone has to gain by hearing each other.

Maci Zakarin (left)

Diversity should be celebrated and never silenced. Every person has a unique and different perspective. When we silence voices, our perspectives become narrow which ultimately leads to ignorance and intolerance.

Eloise Gordon (right)

I used to think of it along the same lines as “love thy neighbor.” While I still believe in the importance of community I find that “We The People” holds so much more responsibility than simply being kind and generous. It is an oath we take to be a part of a nation and to make sure our fellow people are safe, secure, and free. It’s a promise to be peers.

There is no growth without diversity. It’s important to see as many images as you can to truly understand the whole picture.

Alisia Ortiz (left)

“We The People” means exactly that. We, the people. It implies equality. It implies justice.

I am a queer woman of color. Current policies threaten everything that I am. Everything that I stand for.

Diversity without inclusion means nothing. Inclusion is the key for change.

Grey Hoffman (right)

The Trump administration is slowly destroying LGBTQ+ friendly policies one by one. It’s scary to think about how our current government is reversing the efforts to help our community and that make our country a more equal place.

When everybody is invited to the table, we learn to accept each other for who we are.

Tyler Demauro (left)

The Trump administration has tried to deteriorate the LGBTQ+ community, but it will never be successful due to our sense of community which is stronger.

To me, [inclusion] is the idea of everyone having equal representation and being accounted for as a whole.

Courtney Campbell (right)

I am from Parkland, Florida and what happened there because someone was allowed to purchase a war weapon is unspeakable.

We need to set an example for our children. Excluding people deprives us of other people’s creativity. It blocks us from others peoples ideas because we are shutting people out.

Stay tuned to Milk for more Gen Z politics.

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