This election season has been unlike any other I’ve experienced. My mailbox has been constantly full with mailers and campaign lit getting word out about candidates in my area. The radio and news stations have been playing campaign ads nonstop, and the air is filled with pressure and excitement as the hours close in on Election Day.
My six year old daughter and I spent our Saturday morning canvassing the streets of our district. We wanted to spread the word about school board elections and make sure our voices were heard and that we made an impact on this election.
While knocking on doors, my daughter was constantly congratulated by constituents telling her how important it is for her to make her voice heard. She answered questions about what grade she was in and what school she attended and she enjoyed engaging with the voters she met. She asked questions like, “what house is next?” and “did they already vote?” I was mesmerized by her level of engagement and excitement about the election and reflected on the importance of our young people to be involved in the political process. Voting is not the only way to make a lasting impact in the political world, and it seems fitting for the young people who are impacted by our school board to have a say in who gets to represent them.
One voter told me and my daughter, “democracy starts early.” His words will forever be ingrained in my brain. As a mother and a high school teacher, the majority of my day is being surrounded by young people, our future leaders.
I chose to make my voice heard this weekend, and it was important that my daughter watch me lead by example. I can tell her over and over that her voice matters and while this is true, it was important that she exercise this voice and have face to face contact with voters in our district. My daughter is aware that her voice matters and that her education matters. It was such a powerful experience to join parents, teachers, and community leaders on the last weekend before Election Day to make our impact in something bigger than us, the future of our school district and the children it serves.
I urge all parents, educators, and community members to have conversations with our young people about the power of their voices and engagement in this process. They should feel empowered to speak their truth in the communities we live in and serve in. You’re never too young to stand up for something you deeply believe in.
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