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Letters to Voices : Generation X and Hopelessness

I have a message to send to Kristen Perry (Generation X: ‘We Tend to Value Things Instead of Life,’ May 23). If all you see in our generation is hopelessness, violence, apathy and an overwhelming sense of being lost, you’re hanging out with the wrong people.

Let me introduce you to the Generation X I know. Look behind successful corporate executives and political figures and you’ll see an army of Generation Xers managing their portfolios, cranking out their financial analyses, setting up get-out-the-vote strategies and developing policy recommendations. In the face of a world full of injustice, twenty-somethings are making blockbuster movies, creating virtual reality, starting community gardens to put kids through college, editing magazines, managing homeless outreach centers and writing best-selling novels. We are clerking for Supreme Court judges, working on cures for breast cancer and AIDS, starting companies, organizing labor movements, serving as mayors, raising families, doing gang intervention, and, in 1994, electing a governor (after we rocked-the-vote to elect a President in 1992).

Yes, we face a more violent world full of broken promises. We also live in a world of tremendous opportunity.

Caprice Young, 28

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Assistant Deputy Mayor

Los Angeles

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Kristen Perry’s editorial comment about Generation X is most excellent and insightful. It evidences maturity of thought well beyond her years.

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Few would disagree with her statements, " . . . We’re just lost. It seems no one in this generation has a hold on anything important.”

Perry has recognized the crux of the problem. Earlier generations faced circumstances equally as challenging as those facing “Generation X,” but they were sustained by having a firm “hold on something important.”

They recognized moral and spiritual VALUE. It was taught to them in their homes by their parents and in their churches by their Sunday school teachers and by their pastors and at school by teachers who stood for and taught high standards of morality. All of the above, in their own way, stressed the importance of character and reputation and from all of these teachings, self respect and achievement were the inevitable result.

In earlier generations those who failed in school failed. The lesson was that we progress in direct proportion to the effort and application we put forth in life.

Perry has evidenced great understanding of the values of life. When others turn aside to accept lesser values just continue to be guided by your own star.

J. Wesley Reed

Retired Judge, California Superior Court, Altadena


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