Students Invited as VIP Guests at Civic Talk with Vice President Harris
Local high school students were invited to attend a civic talk with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. Coordinated by the Michigan Governor's office, a total of thirty VIP tickets were available to students across Oakland County, of which seven Bloomfield Hills High School and International Academy students were invited.
These VIP guests interacted with Michigan State Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, State Representative and MI Supreme Court Candidate Kyra Harris Bolden, State Representative Mari Manoogian, State Senator Jeremy Moss, and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. They heard speeches by Southfield’s Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Green, Congresswoman Lawrence, Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist, and Vice President Harris.
BHHS student Raghad ElBashir (grade 11) shares, “The primary message of the rally was to establish just how important it is for youth to begin engaging in their local and state politics. It emphasized how voter efficacy among younger voters needs to increase by establishing a vote as your voice. Perhaps one of the most inspiring moments of the event was when Vice President Kamala Harris stated that every single law and act passed will impact generations we will never even meet, showing just how important it is to vote if you can.”
Engaging with politicians was a highlight of the event. BHHS student Henry Jackson (grade 12) shares, “Before the event, we got to meet with Representative Brenda Lawrence and discuss how she worked her way up from the Southfield School Board to Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. It was amazing to have her sitting next to us right before giving a powerful speech about the importance of young people voting. Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist joined us towards the end of the event, taking time to discuss with us issues of racial inequality, police brutality, and civic engagement.”
ElBashir adds, “The representatives and speakers who were there seemed genuine and would go out of their way to speak with as many people as they could, especially student leaders. It was an extremely humanizing experience to see such important politicians take time to understand student advocates more in our communities.” International Academy student Diya Ramesh (grade 12) notes, “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet many of my local lawmakers and members of government and to be able to speak with them about the types of advice they would give to students like me. It was really inspiring to hear about their journeys through life and about the process that they took to reach their current positions.”
BHHS student Brendan Randall (grade 10) reflects, “I feel that attending the event was an extremely positive experience that gave a lot of insight. My main takeaway is that our impact as young people on politics in America is extremely important. We shouldn’t let our voices go unheard in the political scene, and it’s of paramount importance that we all should exercise our right to vote.”