Maggie Walker Student Organizations Get Out The Vote

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Photo: activerain.com

Photo: activerain.com

Photo: activerain.com

Tejas Muthusamy and Varun Mandgi

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Ever since the formation of American democracy, voting has gradually become more open and accessible to a greater amount of people. Involvement in politics has generally mirrored the same pattern. Now, in the age of social media and easy access to activism, youth under the age of eighteen around the United States are getting more and more involved in the political process. Maggie Walker is a prime example of this, as it is well renowned for its engagement in local and national politics. ThinkYouthRVA and InspireVA, started by are two student led groups originating in Maggie Walker that aim to make a difference in the Greater Richmond community.

ThinkYouthRVA is a political think tank started by Maggie Walker students with three main objectives: to create awareness about problems in the RVA area, working to find solutions to such problems, and to increase youth involvement in local, state, and national government through actions such as lobbying. Although ThinkYouthRVA began within the walls of Maggie Walker, it has already expanded to include members from a variety of schools within Henrico County. Currently, they are working on creating a monthly magazine (this month’s theme is politics) as well as a forum for elementary and middle-school aged youth to become educated on policy issues. The future of this organization is still taking form, but ThinkYouthRVA already has intelligent youth representing a diverse array of perspectives as its foundation, so great things can be expected from this up-and-coming organization.

InspireVA is a subset of the organization Inspire-US, a political activism group with the mission to “engage young adults in the democratic process.” The non-profit “sponsors clubs throughout Virginia at high schools to help increase teen participation in voting and politics in their communities,” according to Jessica Lin (‘21), a club founder. “We all try to register at least 65% of the eligible senior class,” says Lin, “and we get a banner from the Richmond Mayor if we achieve this goal.” In the future, Jessica hopes to make all students “get in the habit of registering to vote and actually voting on election day.” Although not legally old enough to vote herself, she emphasizes that, through voting, even teenagers can enact change.

It is no overstatement to say that Maggie Walker is changing the Richmond community for the better. Not only are its students engaging in the democratic process by voting, the members of ThinkYouthRVA and InspireVA have made it their mission to lobby these elected representatives and hold them responsible for acting upon the values and interests that are important to the Richmond community. To anyone who is eligible to vote but is unsure about whether or not to participate in this year’s election, Lin urges them to think about what you “care about and where [you] would like to see change…” and would suggest that “if [you] are unsure who to vote for to look for candidate profiles from unbiased sources to get more information to make an informed decision.” This election day, keep in mind the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

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