By: Paige Nielsen
From attending rallies, to writing letters, or to simply being an informed citizen, there are many ways to be politically active. Find out about what a few St. Mary's girls are doing to stay involved.
From Moss Hall to the Senior Den, St. Mary’s girls are taught to speak up for themselves and their beliefs. Whether they consider themselves to be political activists or just concerned citizens, St. Mary’s girls speak up and get involved in a variety of forums -- including politics. On both sides of the aisle, post-election St. Mary’s girls are more involved than ever.
Political activism is participation in the political process beyond voting and often involves fighting for your beliefs. As Megan Wassef (12) expands, “It is really engaging in that next step and actually taking action.” Megan says, “For me, political action has been getting involved with the youth council.” The Memphis Youth City Council is a group of Memphis high schoolers elected by their schools to collaborate with city government and be the voice of Memphis youth. Megan also attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and she says, “Most recently, I have also called and emailed senators and representatives.” To those who question the impact this type of civic Megan says, “I do feel like I am actually giving my input and making an impact on the city level. Nationally, maybe not so much, but I think the fact that I do not just say that someone else can do it rather I take action myself -- that is what lets me sleep at night.”
On the other hand, Grayson Lusk- Hussong (12) defines herself as “just a concerned citizen.” Grayson says, “I don’t think of myself as being a political activist, but, because this was the first election I voted in and it did not go how I had hoped and government class taught me the importance of local government, I have started to get more involved on the local level.” Grayson went to Senator Cohen’s town hall meeting last February 11 at East High School, where a majority of the conversation focused on healthcare, ethics, and the current political climate. Of the meeting Grayson said, “I came out feeling that our representative [Steve Cohen] has a plan and that he is trying to get things done.”
Megan and Grayson both agree that a unifying factor behind their political experiences is St. Mary’s. Megan says, “St. Mary’s has changed how I take action and taught me to speak out for myself. Model UN, Diversity Club, and Youth in Government have all helped me become more aware and involved with politics.” Grayson also says, “I think that St. Mary’s facilitates our understanding of how our government works a lot more than other schools do, and we are a community that encourages students to speak up and get involved.”
To anyone who is not sure how to get involved, Megan advises to “Find something you are passionate about and research that and then find out where that is not happening and pursue it.”