If anything good has come out of the lingering anguish over the results of the 2016 election, it’s more civic engagement in politics. People are turning out and voting in smaller local elections, and more women and young adults are running for office.
Teen Vogue’s excellent series “Running!” is covering this, reporting on non-politicians stepping up and getting involved in government to make a difference.
Lily Herman has a profile of 18-year-old Gabrielle Anzalone, who was inspired to run for Lindenhurst, New York’s Board of Education after her experience of almost being suspended for participating in the National School Walkout in March. She and her friends attended a Board of Education meeting to speak out about the injustice of their suspension. As a result, their punishment was initially downgraded to a three-day detention, but then New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo directed schools to drop punishments against students for their participation in the walkout. The impact of their speaking out made a strong impression on Anzalone — who unfortunately didn’t win.
Gabrielle realized that students needed better representation on the board. Soon after, she learned that there was an open seat on the Board of Education, and she decided to run, getting more than the 36 petition signatures she needed and officially entering the race in early April. She created a Facebook page and a Twitter account, made signs, and began speaking with every constituency in the school system, ranging from students and teachers to aides and parents. “Everyone has a different experience,” she says. “I wanted to see how we could change our schools to properly accommodate [different students] and make them feel more comfortable.”
And Emma Sarran Webster has a profile of Stacey Abrams, minority leader in Georgia’s House of Representatives, who is running for her state’s Governorship in November — and who recently published a book on running despite no political experience, Minority Leader: How to Lead From the Outside and Make Real Change.
And after the 2016 presidential election, Stacey knew the time was ripe speak out on issues dear to her. “I was energized by the resistance movement, by the friends I knew around the country who were both defeated by the 2016 election but were also excited about the opportunities for taking power and for controlling the destiny of whatever corner of the world they were a part of,” she says. Stacey took that energy and combined it with her own experience to guide the “lead from the outside” theme of her book, which she says is for anyone who is viewed as an outsider when it comes to power — including women and people of color — but many others as well.