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Exclusive – How Gen Z for Change is eliminating barriers to action

We spoke with ‘Gen Z for Change’ founder Aidan Kohn-Murphy about the ways in which his youth-led, non-profit organisation is leveraging social media to create exponential impact driven by digital natives.

For many, the term ‘digital natives’ is synonymous with Gen Z.

Referring to the cohort’s innate understanding of technology and its countless benefits, it encapsulates the prolific impact that social media in particular has had on mobilising the youth of today to act against injustice.

Armed with the knowledge that Gen Z’s steadfast reliance on these tools is their bailiwick, not to be criticised (as it often is) but encouraged, is Aidan Kohn-Murphy.

At just 18-years-old, he’s mastered the art of tapping into the demographic’s line of expertise through the non-profit he founded in 2020.

Called Gen Z for Change, the youth-led organisation has – to date – educated over one billion people about topics including the environment, systemic inequity, foreign policy, voting rights, and LGBTQIA+ issues.

It’s done so by leveraging highly-trafficked platforms like TikTok, on which its coalition of more than 500 creators devoted to shaping the minds of society at large are directing Gen Zers on how to harness their voices for good.

The success of these efforts so far is what’s earned Aidan the title of ‘an unlikely leader of America’s largest and fastest-growing media empire.’

We had the opportunity to speak with him and see if this statement holds true.

‘I never set out to create a non-profit,’ says Aidan, explaining that Gen Z for Change began as @TikTokforBiden, a group of predominantly political content creators using their following to ‘defeat Trump and his hateful opinions.’

Back then, it provided an alternative media platform for the Democratic candidate to connect with hard-to-reach young voters.

Now, the movement’s purpose stretches much further, fuelled by its almost-immediate popularity among those making the videos and those watching them during its days under a different moniker.

‘Our goal wasn’t just to get Biden elected, it was to bring about change,’ says Aidan.

‘But TikTokforBiden snowballing the way it did is what prompted me to think as big as I have. To uncover a means of utilising this giant coalition of content creators we had assembled to make a real difference.’

Gen Z for Change is the outcome of this pursuit.

Throughout the last two years, Aidan has worked tirelessly to rebrand and build his internal team of advocates and activists, most of whom have online presences that span a wide range of subject areas relating to social change.

@genzforchange If you are able to, donating to ab0rtion funds is the most important thing you can do❤️ #genzforchoice #genzforchange ♬ This Wisp Sings by Winter Aid but slowed down – lastmanstanley

‘The issues that I care about are shaped by my experiences, therefore everyone is going to care about different things,’ he continues, alluding to the fact that activism is inherently multifaceted, especially across a demographic with firm presences in all corners of the globe.

‘What drives me is the principal of making sure young people are uplifted and included in the conversation because I know that Gen Z is not a monolith.’

‘Additionally, there’s an opportunity for individuals telling their stories to lead that charge. What you can do on social media that the traditional media doesn’t do is provide the perspective of those whose lives are most affected by these issues. When you show these realities, you’re able to place a unique focus on the issues themselves.’

Externally, the organisation partners with a network of other non-profits, influencers, and celebrities to produce the multimedia content it’s renowned for, all of them with a shared interest in using their platforms to support progressive causes.

This is what lays the groundwork for Gen Z for Change’s campaigns, the most recent being #PeopleOverPrime whereby creators pledged to stop advertising Amazon products on their platforms.


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Attracting a significant amount of coverage for hitting the conglomerate where it hurts – ‘one of Amazon’s key marketing strategies is using influencers to appeal to young people,’ says Aidan – it’s a notable example of Gen Z for Change’s trailblazing approach.

One that takes its target demographic’s fixation with social media and turns it into the vehicle of its empowerment.

‘We’re seeing an unprecedented number of young people who want to get involved in the fight for tangible change,’ says Aidan.

‘It’s going to be a challenge to turn this very widespread and strong desire into action, but we are uniquely suited – with the tools we have – to make this happen. We have our opportunity and a collective desire to get to work. There are a few things we need to overcome to get there, but I have faith that we will.’

And this is how Gen Z for Change is eliminating barriers to action. By absolving Gen Z of its ‘disillusionment with an individual’s influence’ (as Aidan puts it), assuring them that the responsibility doesn’t fall on their shoulders alone – that collective action is the way forward – so that eliciting tangible change at scale becomes a possibility.

‘Now we’re at a place where Gen Z for Change is hundreds of thousands of creators and half a billion followers strong,’ he says, adding that this figure exceeds the average monthly viewerships of ABC, Fox News, and CNN combined.

‘We really focus on harnessing the unique aspects and elements of a generation that grew up on the Internet and one that understands young people better than anyone.’

Where better then, than to promote discourse and action on Gen Z’s favourite application?

It’s through TikTok that Gen Z for Change has been able to demonstrate the sheer power of digital organising.

‘TikTok is our go-to because it gets through to more people than just those actively searching for the information we’re spreading,’ says Aidan.


happy national #ComingOutDay from all of us 🌈 #genzforchange #bewhoyouare

♬ This Wisp Sings by Winter Aid but slowed down – lastmanstanley

‘With the tap of a finger, we’ve mobilised our audience and efficiently pushed for what Gen Z believes in.’

A quick look at the ‘work’ section of Gen Z for Change’s website will prove this, its existing accomplishments comprising shutting down the pro-life whistle-blower tip line in Texas and helping an Afghan family targeted by the Taliban obtain a visa (to name only a couple).

‘Our work doesn’t just stem online,’ reads the overview. ‘It makes an impact in the real world.’

Yet how exactly does the coalition approach this while navigating TikTok’s confusingly inconsistent audience, oversaturated For You Page, and reputation as a dancing app for teens?

‘You have to find the middle ground to ensure your videos are algorithm-friendly enough to reach people but concise and well-researched enough so that your advocacy is amplified,’ says Aidan.


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‘All of the content we disseminate is either very current or seeks to combat the misinformation that’s running rampant online at the moment.’

In short, what’s brewing among Gen Z progressives on social media is a huge pivot towards socio-political participation, a transformation in the way that young people engage with the fight for justice.

And Aidan – alongside his army of digital changemakers – is at the forefront of guaranteeing that nobody underestimates the power of new technology and how it reaches young people ever again.

‘For a long time I haven’t felt like older generations in the changemaking space have taken me or Gen Z for Change seriously, they’ve thought of us as a novelty’ he finishes.

‘But when you deliver the results, they have no choice. At the end of the day it’s about what’s going to make change and if you can prove that your approach is effective then people will start listening. Young people have power and we will show it.’