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CHS expands youth political activism

Students+walk+to+the+football+field+during+the+National+Walkout+to+honor+the+victims+of+the+Florida+shooting.+Hundreds+of+students+participated+in+peaceful+protest%2C+including+Democrat+Club+president%2C+senior+Dillan+Krichbaum+%28second+to+left%29.+
Students walk to the football field during the National Walkout to honor the victims of the Florida shooting. Hundreds of students participated in peaceful protest, including Democrat Club president, senior Dillan Krichbaum (second to left).

Students walk to the football field during the National Walkout to honor the victims of the Florida shooting. Hundreds of students participated in peaceful protest, including Democrat Club president, senior Dillan Krichbaum (second to left).

Max Piper

Max Piper

Students walk to the football field during the National Walkout to honor the victims of the Florida shooting. Hundreds of students participated in peaceful protest, including Democrat Club president, senior Dillan Krichbaum (second to left).

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Two years ago, the 2016 presidential election generated a popular political discussion nationwide. Ever since, the younger generations have been getting increasingly involved in the political field and expressing their opinions, from the National School Walkout to the March for our Lives. As more and more students began to localize that discussion and bring it to Carlsbad, one individual in particular established political activism on campus.

This past school year, senior Dillan Krichbaum created Democrat Club with a goal to promote the idea that the young generation’s future is in their own hands.

“My main purpose in creating Democrat Club was not to be divisive but to just be an inclusive organization where kids can come in and learn about what’s going on in the news and what that news really means,” Krichbaum said. “Also, I’m trying to encourage other students to become more politically involved by giving them opportunities to join internships and local organizations.”

People may still question whether or not students’ voices will actually be heard. However, even if reform does not occur any time soon, in the long term, students will be taking their beliefs to the political field. Having her eye on the political climate since college, L.A. Times Assistant Managing Editor, Politics Christina Bellantoni explains the impact our community’s activism will have in the future.

“These young people, these activists, are our future leaders, whether they’re government leaders or influencing leadership, or out there as the voice of the people,” Bellantoni said.

It’s important for people to start now, for their own knowledge and for the future generations.”

— Christina Bellantoni

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As students grow into political influences, Bellantoni suggests being both involved and informed. The knowledge students gain now enables them to adequately cause the change they have been fighting for.

“The key is listening to others and figuring out how people who disagree with you can actually help you,” Bellantoni said. “How can you build a coalition for change? That often times means compromise. In general, people should be as informed as possible on everything about democracy and the issues on the table. Everyone needs to take the responsibility upon themselves to be an informed voter and citizen.”

Even though being able to make compromises with others’ political beliefs is important, a common concern remains: younger people especially are misinformed, depending on what they hear through outlets such as social media and their peers. Preventing polarized information may make way for the compromises that are necessary for democracy.

“I would say I was guilty of jumping on bandwagons and blindly following the ideals of a political party when I first started getting involved in politics,” Krichbaum said. “I would encourage all students to really research each position and find out where they stand. There aren’t any cookie cutter beliefs that anyone has to follow, and just feeling that you’re a liberal or a conservative doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to follow every ideal of that defined party.”

No matter what political beliefs students formulate, there are a multitude of opportunities in their communities for them to take advantage of. For instance, students such as Krichbaum volunteer in the campaign for congressional candidate Mike Levin, as well as participate in protests. With any form of expressing what students stand for, strengthening youth involvement in one community alone will only cause a greater impact in the future.

“Your voice matters, [but] it starts locally,” Bellantoni said. “There are so many things you can do right on campus and during summer. It’s really easy to just party, and I think that right now,  the country can’t wait for that. It’s important for people to start now, for their own knowledge and for the future generations.”

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CHS expands youth political activism