“Eighteen in ’18 is not just my friends from school, but it’s their parents and grandparents, it’s their mom’s childhood friends, it’s our community. It’s all of us coming together and committing to making the world a better place,” said Makayla Rodney, this afternoon at a Rally on Middle Street, across from Senator Susan Collins (R) office in downtown Portland.
The poised and articulate Rodney went on to urge teenagers now eligible to vote to register and promise to vote. “We need to make changes,” she said. She also urged teens to attend a city council meeting, call elected officials about subjects of interest and attend a protest. Rodney, a senior at Thornton Academy, Saco, said that a group of fellow students meets every week at someone’s home to discuss issues of concern. The Valentine’s Day mass murder in Florida has dominated discussions recently. “A lot of my peers don’t feel safe at school,” Rodney said, “Politicians need to pay more attention to youth. Please get involved.”
Following the rally a petition for common sense gun measures was to be delivered to Senator Susan Collins (R) office across the street from Lobsterman’s Park.
Simultaneously, a survivor of the Valentine’s Day mass school shooting in Florida, sent a message to this blogger in which she, Sara Imam, asked for a commitment to vote in the upcoming election this fall. “We refuse to let their names be forgotten. We refuse to let their deaths be in vain….we are calling for stricter gun laws. We are calling for change,” wrote Sara Imam. She turned 18 on Valentine’s Day – the day of the school massacre. Sara immediately registered to vote this fall. Please follow Sara’s lead!
The goal of ‘Eighteen in ’18’ is “to mobilize, empower and train 17 – 19 year olds who will cast their first vote in 2018…We propose the use of social media, music and community meetings to encourage intergenerational activism…..” The event was organized by Mainers for Accountable Leadership as well as ‘Eighteen in ’18’.