By: Amana Seaton
One of my favorite quotes to live by is by the late Gandhi, “The future depends on what you do today.” Being an Election in Action Youth Leader is one of the greatest programs a young person could get involved in. As an EIA member, our main goal as a group is to educate students and people in our community about voting and give them an idea of the major goals and proposed policies for each presidential candidate. Mikva Challenge DC provides me with a platform where I can collectively discuss issues with my peers that affect the daily lives of students. Some of the issues I care about are global warming, gun violence, and most importantly, equal rights for women in the healthcare system and workplace. The reason I was motivated to join this amazing journey was because, in coming from a third world country like Jamaica, where students were not really involved in elections or had no voice on matters that are important to them, it was imperative to take advantage of this opportunity. Many students like me grew up in a society where children were supposed to be seen and not heard.
As a result of being a participant in this program, it has guided me in finding my voice and guiding my actions. As a student I have learned that accumulating infinite knowledge and pairing information with action is one of the best ways to success. It is our responsibility now as youth to train ourselves to become leaders. We are the generation that will change and create unity in our society and schools.
We can accomplish all this through encouraging a youth to say, “I can, and I will.” In developing youth empowerment, we can become activists. After taking AP World History in the tenth grade, it has shown me how historical figures like Susan B Anthony and Malcolm X fought for women and people of color to have the right to vote, and now I want to continue their work
The Mikva Elections in Action program has inspired me to have a more proactive mindset in wanting to continue their legacy by telling members of my community or parents at my school how important it is to be educated on the election process and activism. The EIA program presents a feeling of family, where we all are each other’s greatest motivation. We constantly remind each other that there was no such thing as a small issue because if it’s something they are passionate about, then they can work to fix that problem through their passion and determination.
Over the past few weeks of being a part of the EIA group, it has certainly helped me to become more confident in myself and more firm in my beliefs, which will allow to become a strong independent woman in the future. One of the best parts of this experience is the amazing friendship I was able to develop with more than 20 students, who all come from various backgrounds and have different opinions and perspectives. In 2019, one of the greatest assets available to everyone is their voice: the difference is whether we use our voices or let them remain silenced by the oppression we face in society today. This endeavor has helped me to realize my future of becoming a stronger activist and a more educated citizen.
Amana Seaton is a Banneker High School student and a current Mikva DC Elections in Action Youth Leader.