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Political Activism: Even High Schoolers Can Make A Difference

Matan Adler, Staff Writer

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This is the first installment of a recurring piece detailing how you can get involved in both your community and the larger nation. Check back frequently for new opportunities!

 

In February, a gunman walked into Stoneman Douglas High School and killed seventeen people. And in the two months since, we’ve seen the difference that outspoken and impassioned activists can make — even when they’re too young to vote.

But activism doesn’t stop with the March for Our Lives; we haven’t yet reformed the Second Amendment, and the current issues of concern extend past gun violence. Environmentalism, police reform, and criminal justice all remain prominent issues, not just in Albany, but across the whole United States.

The power that activists have cannot be overstated. Sociopolitical change does not occur without advocacy. However, it can be hard for people our age to get involved. But that doesn’t mean we have nothing to do. The following are opportunities for us to take action:

  • The Albany Police Department is searching for a new permanent police chief, since Chief Cox left the force early last year. They’ve asked for public input, and the final two meetings are tonight and tomorrow night. The APD hasn’t always been the most fair or accountable organization, so turn out and push them to hire a chief who will make the force more equitable.
  • Where: Albany Public Library, Main Branch (Washington Ave.) tonight, Albany JCC tomorrow night
  • When: 5:30 tonight, 2 pm tomorrow (I am not advocating you skip school, but…)
  • There will be another anti-gun violence walkout this Friday, on the anniversary of Columbine. This walkout is being run by National School Walkout, created by the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting.
  • Where: right here, Albany High
  • When: Friday, 10 am
  • I am unsure of whether there are firm details on a walkout here, as I have not heard anything about it. If one hasn’t been organized, then it will be soon!
  • Cuomo: Walk the Talk on Climate! Governor Andrew Cuomo has had a disappointing track record when it comes to environmentalism. Now the Power Authority has plans to build a new, polluting power plant in Sheridan Hollow. Groups from across New York State will meet up there, before marching on the Capitol. Unfortunately, someone decided to schedule this on a Monday, so it begins during school. (Again, I’m probably obligated to condemn skipping school…)
  • Where: 79 Sheridan Ave, then the Capitol
  • When: Noon, Monday, April 23rd
  • There will be a bowl-a-thon in support of the New York Abortion Access Fund. You can donate here, and if you’re free, come on out and bowl!
  • Where: Del Lanes
  • When: 2 pm, Sunday, April 29th
  • If you’re going to donate, you might want to wait until Wednesday. A number of groups are sponsoring the donation funds on that day, so all donations are matched. And the donation fund is more important than the bowling itself, by the way.

Above all else, join your local political party. The Albany DSA, the Albany Democratic Committee, the Green Party, or the Working Families Party. (That’s it. There is no other party to join. None at all.) It’s worth noting that regardless of which party you choose, when you’re eighteen, registering to vote as a Democrat is the most impactful and practical choice.

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