On Friday, students from Sacred Hearts Academy walked out of their classes to protest gun violence and demonstrate their civic engagement. More than 2,600 walkouts were planned and had thousands of students participating. What differentiated this walkout from the March 24 “March For Our Lives” was the focus on civic involvement that extends beyond walking out of your class. This may leave students wondering how they can get involved.
Voting is the single most important thing that you can do as a citizen. In Hawaii, you can pre register at the age of 16. Which means that there is no excuse for you to get registered through Turbo Vote or any other means. It is too late to register through Sacred Hearts Academy, so now you must find other forms of registering. Make sure that you have a state ID or valid driver’s license. If you need to get a state ID, go to the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation website for more information.
There has been a recent push to increase voter turnout in the U.S. This year’s Women’s March theme is “Power to the Polls,” which involves a national road trip to cities in “swing states” around the country to register voters and empower community leaders. While this is not an indicator of the midterm elections, it is a positive development in the fight for political representation of all people.
What about soon to be college students? For students who are planning to go to college in another state, you can fill out an absentee application and get your ballot sent to your address in college.
Use your voice
Using websites such as 5 Calls is an easy way to call your representatives in your local legislature and Congress. This is the best way to get your voice heard directly by your political representatives and is a useful way to support specific legislation. The bills that get discussed are often the ones that prompt the most noise.
This may be difficult for people with social anxiety or a fear of phones. This blog post is the encouragement that you may need to get over your fear and begin to get your voice heard. The number one tip? Write down what you want to say before you call your representatives. This way you will be able to quickly recite your message without losing your confidence and ending the call too soon.
Don’t know who your representatives are? Go to the United States House of Representatives website to find out who represents your district and what their number is.
Just do something
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you end up doing. What is important is that you do something. It is not enough to simply say that you care, you must act. Find an issue that matters to you, whether that be women’s rights, equal representation or immigration. Whatever your passion is, act on it. Start with talking to the people around you, see if anyone is involved in any groups that are making a difference. Volunteer with the groups that echo your beliefs and support vulnerable members in our community. If none of these suggestions inspire you, maybe the words of Emily Ellsworth will.