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February 5, 2019

As an aspiring activist, I have always wondered about how I should react to social injustice. At marches, you’re supposed to be indignant and demanding. At discussions and conferences, you’re supposed to be reflective and constructive. At volunteering events, you’re supposed to be compassionate and hopeful. I often find myself reacting to injustice with more intensity than expected — an intensity that borders on anger and bitt...

February 5, 2019

In September, SafeKidsStories joined the historic national movement to mobilize young voters and get them to the polls. We launched Vote That Jawn #VTJ — a nonpartisan, by-youth, for-youth voting initiative with the aim of partnering with everyone we could to amplify youth voice to register all newly-eligible young Philadelphians for the 2018 election. Armed with grit, wit, and creativity, SafeKids’ #VoteThatJawn created a fun...

February 5, 2019

The sound of steadily beating drums and the flowing notes of the piano invite me into the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall. A mahogany podium bearing the Seal of the City of Philadelphia stands at the front of the room. Today, at the celebration for the youth who participated in the #VoteThatJawn initiative, teams are to present the strategies they used to bring fresh voters to the polls for the 2018 midterm elections.

As th...

February 5, 2019

I watch as my physics professor draws a careful diagram of a block resting on a table, chalk smudging as he redraws force vectors to orient them precisely. The class copies the drawing, and a few moments later I hear backpacks unzipping and papers rustling as students hurriedly pull out calculators, punching in numbers and scribbling down answers. Looking around, it appears that more than half the class has found the solution;...

February 5, 2019

As you walk onto the Mayor’s Reception Room, you are immediately surrounded by history. A statue honoring Amerigo Vespucci and the seal of Philadelphia greet you as you walk down the hallway. Entering the room, you immediately see paintings of past mayors. These images, to me, represent our progress through time. Since my group — Vote That Jawn — is here to celebrate a successful voting-participation drive, it demonstrates tha...

February 5, 2019

When I was in kindergarten, my mom would sit me down at our dinky kitchen table and teach me how to do long addition on the back of bill envelopes. I remember she would constantly laud me for how smart I was, motivating me to want to learn more and more. Other days, she would bring out the multiplication flashcards that people from church didn’t want anymore, and run me through my twos, then my threes, and so on. By first grad...

February 5, 2019

I once was told by a fellow immigrant that living in America is like being in a car going on a never-ending road trip — the citizens are driving, but we new residents are riding shotgun, feet propped up on the dash, along for the ride. At its best, the years whoosh by as if you are sailing down a long stretch of open highway. But occasionally, the driver is tired, they miss the exit, and then they silently — or loudly — blame...

February 5, 2019

I was one of the first students to arrive at WHYY, where the Vote That Jawn event would soon begin and was welcomed in by a kind old woman at the security desk. The large glass doors allowed for the bright daylight to filter onto the plastic table set up in the lobby. It was bare, so I got to work transforming it into a proper welcoming desk. I laid out the sign-in sheets with accompanying pens and lined up the Vote That Jawn...

February 5, 2019

I am walking out of 15th street station by Centre Square in Philadelphia, and a woman coming up beside me remarks on her phone, “Oh, my God– it is a gorgeous day. It’s almost like everyone went to sleep, and when we all woke up the city is just prettier.”

The wind is not blustery as yesterday. Billy Penn, standing atop his high clocktower, can be seen much more clearly, the sun shining on his bronze statue under a streak-less s...

February 5, 2019

I’m an average citizen — not someone who keeps up regularly with current events, tweets about politicians, or fully understands the US debt crisis — so I wonder whether I’m qualified to write an article on civic engagement, partisanship and politics. In high school, I had been immersed in a civic engagement organization called the Junior State of America. Though much of the organization was centered around debates on economic,...

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