How Did You Become Politically Conscious And Actively Engaged?

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Over the last nine years, people have routinely asked, "How did you become politically conscious and actively engaged?" It 's a fair question. After all, I wasn 't raised in a political household, nor were my parents counterculture radicals or hippies. For me, conversations with close friends, books, drugs and music were the key factors in shaping my worldview, morals and politics. In other words, my political consciousness was raised through social and cultural experiences, both collective and individual. Growing Up in a Neoliberal World Born in 1984, I was raised in a neoliberal world. In fact, my generation doesn 't recall a time prior to neoliberalism because we 've never lived in a world without it. Our entire experience has been colored and shaped by a hyper-materialist consumer culture hellbent on privatizing and commodifying every last inch of the planet. As kids, we didn 't dream of helping our neighbors or volunteering in our local communities, at least not in the neighborhoods where I grew up; we dreamed of mansions, vacations in the tropics, fast cars and various other symbols of wealth, not to mention violence, as we were bombarded with militaristic propaganda in the form of Hollywood films, video games and TV sitcoms — all of which glorified killing and hyper-masculinity. Simultaneously, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, hip-hop and alternative rock music were sweeping the American cultural landscape. For me, these art forms represented a break from the

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