Do Millennials and Gen Z Believe in the American Dream?

October 30, 2020  • Aspen Ideas Now

Where do you see yourself in ten years? A new study led by Kristin Soltis Anderson, author of The Selfie Vote, asked young Americans how they feel about their future. Turns out that despite a pandemic, political polarization, and multiple recessions in their lifetime, two-thirds of those surveyed believe the American Dream is achievable, and nearly half expect to have a life better than their parents. Why is that? And is it possible that a life defined by this kind of hope could be defined by fear at the same time? Anderson joins fellow millennials Viridiana Carrizales and Rebecca Rivas, leaders in education and the arts from immigrant families, to reflect on the findings. 

The study was funded by the Walton Family Foundation. Read the full report

About the Speakers

Kristen Soltis Anderson is co-founder of Echelon Insights, a polling and analytics firm. She is author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up). She is the host of SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel’s “The Trendline” program and is a contributor to Fox News Channel. She is a columnist for The Washington Examiner.

Rebecca Rivas is the Program Director of the LatinX Theatre Project, an Artistic Associate for TheatreSquared, as well as a director and actor. Most recently, she directed T2’s production of Native Gardens, and collaborated with LatinX Theatre Project to develop and devise staging for our play, The Crossroads. Before moving to Northwest Arkansas, Rebecca was an assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso where she directed a number of productions including Electricidad, Bless Me, Ultima, Esperanza Rising, House on Mango Street, and Just Like Us to name a few. She is the co-founder of El Paso’s Chicanx/Latinx Theatre Series. Her acting credits include TheatreSquared’s productions of The Ding Dong (Or How the French Kiss) as Madame Pontengnac, Fabiola and Mandy, and Carly in Reasons to be Pretty, various roles in Arkansas New Play Festival, and the one-woman show Highway 47 (Frontera Repertory Theatre).

Viridiana Carrizales is the co-founder and CEO of ImmSchools, an immigrant led nonprofit organization working to transform K-12 schools into safe and welcoming spaces for undocumented students and families. Viridiana was born in Michoacán, Mexico and immigrated with her family to the United States when she was 11 years old. She began her journey as an immigrant activist in 2004 by co-founding a grassroots organization dedicated to organizing and informing undocumented students of their rights and access to higher education. Viridiana holds bachelor degree in Spanish Literature and Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. For five years, she led Teach For America’s efforts to recruit and place teachers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in classrooms throughout the country. Through her leadership, the program recruited over 240 DACAmented educators who are teaching in 22 cities across 11 states. Viridiana has been recognized by the League of United American Citizens (LULAC) and the Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for her leadership and dedication to the immigration community. After 14 years, she became a US citizen in 2016 and currently resides in San Antonio, TX.