Download the 2021 Insider 100: Millennials publication here or view it below:
Welcome to the Insider 100: Millennial Power List, a group that has truly come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic. As older sorts struggled to inhabit the virtual world, millennials assumed the cocoon position without too much trouble, and guided their elders through an infuriating Tron-like occupation.
It’s not over, of course.
The challenges endure, as do millennials, who have their hands on the levers of both gubernatorial campaigns: that of incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy and his Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, and work in all elements of government and politics.
Certainly, the ranks of elected officials have grown with millennial contributors since the first composition of this list in 2017, and those among them who lead a generation – state Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) comes to mind – now find themselves in the veteran position of defending themselves as they seek reelection.
This year marked a solemn milestone, one that forever stands as that mark of a terrible life initiation for this generation: the 20th anniversary of the September 11th atrocities. In addition to a bell rung for another round in the name of America, the anniversary reminded us of how much this particular group experienced or saw since the beginning of the millennium.
Two decades have passed since the attacks, and in that time, millennials found themselves confronted with new structures and new crises, compelled to live and operate within a world other than the cold one in which the earlier generation came of age. Within a grimness reaffirmed by COVID, the Delta variant, the savage divisions of politics, and the lurid concatenations of social media, millennials persisted, with a generational sure-footedness now, somehow still young enough to be vivid and romantic, and maybe sufficiently wise to bridge certain heartbreaking lunatic divides.