Democracy Matters club seeks to inform students

November 27, 2018 — by Patrick Li and Alex Wang

During the Democracy Matters club’s lunch meeting on Nov. 8 in the room of their adviser, social studies teacher Kirk Abe, junior Shivam Mani argued about the possibility of a recount for Florida’s votes following the midterm elections in a discussion with 10 other club members, including club officers senior Kiran Rachamallu and junior Satvik Kaliyur. Conversations like these happen every Thursday in Abe’s Room 505.

Mani said that his primary motive for participating in the club is to inform himself about important current events through their lunch meetings, which typically consist of the officers’ presenting events they want to address, followed by an open discussion.

“It’s necessary especially for young people to talk about politics and current events issues,” said Mani, who attends every meeting. “I feel like a lot of people in the country don’t pay as much attention as they should be, and there should be a lot more attention on educating young people about the matters of our democracy.”

With the heavily contested midterms and other issues, club Rachamallu has noticed an increase in club participation. Rachamallu also emphasized that the club’s nonpartisan environment is welcoming to people on all sides of the political sphere.

In hopes of getting more students involved with politics beyond discussion, Rachamallu and the other club members advertised and campaigned for local candidates in the recent city council election. Rachamallu enjoyed “being on the front lines” of spreading awareness for the candidates he supports.

“It was a good experience in public speaking, learning how to diffuse possible problems and use persuasive techniques,” Rachamallu said. “I learned how to convince people that the candidate that I was campaigning for aligned with their values without offending them.”

Rachamallu said that he hopes Democracy Matters will encourage students to go out and campaign for elected officials in the future because “campaigning in person is one of the best ways to exercise our rights and get people elected into office.”

The club has also had members participate in other active advocating like voter registration drives and marches against gun violence.

In the future, Rachamallu said that the club will try to invite elected officials to talk to students about how to get involved with politics. He added that it is crucial for students to be knowledgeable about the political realm.

“Pretty soon we’re all going to eligible to vote and it’s important that we have a basic understanding of what’s happening in the world so that we can make sure our elected officials are doing what we want them to do,” Rachamallu said. “It’s important to have that basic civil responsibility.”

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