We’ve heard it all before: young people are apathetic about politics. They just don’t care—they have texting to do and selfies to take! If I’ve learned anything over the last 18 months of this crazy campaign, it’s that teenagers are some of the most activated, educated voices in the field, who seldom get credit for their hard work. Some of us can vote and some of us can’t, but all of us care and do our part. Meet some of the most notable contributors to HRC’s ground game across the country:
Clara Nevins, Campaign Fellow and climate change activist (Los Angeles, CA)
I wanted to work for the campaign because I'm interested in politics and vested in the success of Clinton's campaign, but really, it's so much more than that. As a woman, I believe it is my duty to help other women and ensure that all females can be leaders. Because I'm a young woman and a part of the next generation that will inherit the United States, I feel like I need to focus on the future of our country and the future of feminism. Playing a small role in helping Hillary get elected is my way of contributing to the development of a prosperous future for all women. The future is female!
The best experience I had at the office was running the campaign Snapchat for a day. It made me reflect on the power of social media in this election. It connects people all around the country in such a profound, yet simple way. Our office represented the entire state of California, so we showcased our beautiful beaches and the deliciousness of In-n’-Out Burger. Later on that day, people in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado also showcased their Hillary Campaign offices. It showed me that even though we live in an incredibly large country, we are connected by our passion for Hillary and our shared American identity. Let's win this thing.
Ilana Cohen, Hillary for America Headquarters Volunteer and HS for Hillary lead contributor (New York, NY)
I’ve always admired Hillary Clinton, but it wasn’t until this past year that I began to understand fully what is truly so remarkable about her. Though I recognize that she is flawed, I am an adamant supporter because I believe that for all her worth, her many good attributes outweigh her flaws. She is an unstoppable force for positive change and the more I volunteer for her campaign, the truer I know this to be. I continue to volunteer and will do so until I see Hillary Clinton in the White House because I believe in her ability to effect change, to work with lawmakers of both parties, to fight for all Americans, and to do so as the first woman president of our country.
One of my favorite moments from volunteering is when I was briefly interviewed for campaign content. When asked about why I supported Hillary, I initially struggled to find just one answer, but soon decided upon the way in which she has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of America’s children, especially in the form of improving the public education system. The answer came so naturally when I began speaking that in that moment, I could feel how strongly I believed in Clinton’s campaign. Another one of my favorite moments is when I volunteered at the High Schoolers for Hillary Organization and New York State Young Democrats phone bank at the campaign office at the United Federation of Teachers. I was so impressed by the passion and spirit of the other teens around me that I felt as if I was doing more than just partaking in the campaign experience--I felt as if I was joining a community of future change-makers. And this is what I most admire about Hillary: I admire not just that she fighter for justice and democracy, but that she inspires so many others to join in her fight.
Nick Sattele, Campaign Fellow and head of Solon High School Young Democrats (Solon, OH)
6 months ago, I got involved in a campaign that changed my life. I learned how much went into winning an election—I made calls, canvassed at festivals I didn't even know existed, and made more calls. I planned new events and organized high school students taking a break from school for the summer. I also launched the Solon High School Young Democrats to give our liberal students a voice. It’s been a huge success: we have 60 members and have hosted events with the Ohio High School Democrats and High Schoolers for Hillary, allowing teenagers to take the wheel and changing an election most can't vote in.
The biggest event we've had this year was inspired by Hillary Clinton herself. As a high school student in the suburbs of Chicago, Hillary Rodham was politically engaged. She participated in a debate in which her school's Young Conservatives and Young Democrats discussed major policy tasks. Inspired by her, we helped host a debate between the officers of Young Conservatives and the officers of the newly formed Young Democrats. We discussed issues important to high schoolers like education reform and student loans in addition to tax cuts, minimum wage, and gun control. Our school's lecture hall was filled with roughly 150 students and reviews were glowing, especially considering our school has never had such an event before.
I ended my fellowship in September to focus on school, but because I had worked so hard over the summer, I worked in the VIP tent at the Labor Day event Hillary attended in Cleveland. I got to buy Hillary's coffee, set up her arrangements at the festival. Most importantly, I got to shake Hillary and Tim Kaine's hand. It was very surreal but, after the hundreds of hours I put in for the campaign, well deserved.
Like most high schoolers, I can't vote in this election, but through all the work I've done, I like to think I've influenced others to make the right choice.