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.
Maddie is an Honors graduate of Pace University's B.A. in Communication Studies program. She holds 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.