The Andover High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance called the office of Senator Markey during an H-block on March 21. Initiated by AHS senior Maggie Lamarr and English teacher Ms. Mitchell, the aim was to help students understand how to become student activists and how to stand up for causes they believe in.
According to Mitchell, the group discussed who they would call and why, as well as how they would make the call.
The five-minute call included students asking questions to one of Markey’s aides relating to the recent events of mass shootings and gun regulation, as well as other questions addressing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues. As a response, the aide informed the students of the candidate’s stances on the issues and recorded their conversation in a logbook that is used to determine the number of calls they receive about a certain matter.
Sophomore Chloe Hanrahan asked a question about Markey’s stance on transgender bathroom rights.
“I wanted to make sure that my representative reflected my point of view, because I have a lot of friends who are transgender, or genderqueer, and I wanted to make sure that they would protect them,” said Hanrahan.
The members of the GSA were relieved to hear that Markey supports transgender people’s rights; however, it is unknown whether or not he is actively trying to pass laws in favor of them. He is also currently very supportive of gun control. He had called on retailers to stop selling assault rifles and on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start a gun violence prevention research.
GSA students strongly expressed their opinions about gun regulation during the phone call. Motivated by other student activists around the nation, they made it clear that they think guns should be more limited and regulated strictly. The students also talked about how senators should stop receiving money from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“We need our government to appreciate their people over corporations,” said Lamarr.
GSA students became politically involved when the White House took down their LGBT page just hours after the inauguration of President Trump. Lamarr was looking for a way to take action, and she contacted Mitchell to organize an H-block to teach students how to make a change in our society.
According to Mitchell, getting involved in clubs of your interests is a good place to start to get politically involved. Social media can also be useful as it has played a big role by spreading political messages and by bringing student activists across the nation together to plan marches and events. Another way to get involved in politics is calling your local representatives and senators to voice your opinions.
“If you just think that something is wrong, that is not going to change anything,” said Lamarr. “You need to take action. Calling your representatives is one of the easy ways to do that.”
By Inhye Kang