By: Maddie Kerth
NEW YORK, NY-- IGNITE, an organization dedicated to bringing political opportunity to young women, hosted an event recently for New York City students. As part of their "College Council" series, this day of workshops, presentations, interviews, and professional development, was focused on encouraging each participant to make her voice heard on a local and national political platform.
The morning was hosted by program director Tierra Stewart and IGNITE fellow Alicia Smith. Stewart said, "I believe in the importance of bringing about change within a community, but until we see communication across communities, we will never see change in this country." Smith echoed that sentiment, "It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican. We, at IGNITE, want to put women in the place to enact change."
Starting with icebreakers and introductions, participants learned the importance of a firm handshake and a memorable greeting. They each identified and shared what they want to change in their community. "I would like to change my involvement in my community," said Elizabeth Kayode. "I want us to have more of a voice."
After sharing their thoughts, the young women learned more about IGNITE's mission and how they can become involved in a chapter at their university. "What I think is part of the problem is the access to information on getting involved in local positions," explained Smith. She brought that information to the women that day.
Concluding the event was a Q&A session with Lindsey Boylan, a first time Democratic candidate for New York's 10th congressional district. "I've always wanted to find a way to make it right for the next generation of women." She says she is running this race for her daughter.
Boylan reminded the hopeful, future politicians that the road will not be easy. "It doesn't matter how well respected you are or how many great ideas you have, you'll have to fight the challenges of older, white men," she warned. Boylan says her steepest competition is the incumbent House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler. Boylan is running on a platform of housing reform, job creation, and an end to the GOP's "war on women."
IGNITE hosts similar events in different cities around the country. More information about their plans can be found here.
The lives of those in Charlotte, NC will never be the same after a gunman entered the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and left with the lives of two students. Police have charged Trystan Andrew Terrell with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder after the incidents on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Fatally harmed by the gunshots were Ellis Parlier, 19, and Riley Howell, 21. Memorial services for both men are scheduled to celebrate their heroism.
Along with places of worship, schools have become a recent targets for assailants. According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, a total of 97 K-12 school shooting occurred in 2018. The number for this year (2019) has reached 29. With the majority of opinions being that one school shooting is far too many, the question that remains amongst all of the talk about reformation is: how do collegiate students cope with the looming possibility of being added to these statistics?
Pace University freshman Mackenzie Johnson heard about the shooting from a friend that attends UNCC. She recalls her friend crying and telling her she loves her. When asked how news like this affects Johnson's own collegiate carrier she said, "Despite Pace's fairly strict security measures, it is nerve-wracking to attend class. Students shouldn't have to fear their own living space." This feeling is shared amongst other students of the Pace community. "Everyone feels normal walking into their own school until it happens at their school," a Pace senior said. Pace University faced its own active shooter scare when a student with a metallic studded belt was mistaken for a shooter in the bathroom in September of 2017.
Along the guidelines of media desensitization, students of college campuses across the country have accepted this reality as the new normal. "I’m sad it happened but the way things are happening in the world, not much shocks me these days," said Shelly, a University of New Orleans Senior. This sentiment was echoed by Stephanie, a Pace University Senior. She said that she is "not shocked; [it] happens too often to be shocked anymore."
When asked what the appropriate response to this tragedy would be, the responses where overwhelming in favor of gun control reform. "Tighter gun control & more mental health care. You would think we would’ve seen both those things by now! We need less greed in the government," said another Pace University Senior. Another student suggested a repeal of the Dickey Amendment, which ensures "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control."
Millions of Americans now watch with baited breath to see the changes they desire acted in government policy.
Maddie is an Honors Senior at Pace University earning a B.A. in Communication Studies with a Double Minor in History and Journalism. She has a keen interest in Broadcast Journalism. Experience includes, editorial internships with InvestmentWires and YourTango, publication and on-air segments for Pace University's NYC newspaper and TV station, as well as an extensive background in acting for the stage.