What do you do as a high school student during one of the most contentious election years in history? According to Abigail Richter, ‘23, and Kalilla Garcia, ‘22, you Get Civic.
“It still is a very big deal for our country,” Kalilla said. “It's very important that we, as young people, are able to use our voice. “It matters a lot what we have to say.”
Get Civic is the campaign Kalilla and Abigail launched leading up to the election to empower their peers to get involved and make sure their voices were heard. That meant educating their classmates aged 18 and up about how to register to vote. They showed the 16- and 17-year-olds how to pre-register to vote. Abigail shared that she and Kalilla even made presentations to a few of their classes to talk about the events taking place and why and how to vote.
Kalilla at a ballot drop-off site.
“I'm in the art program, so I made posters, and flyers and Kalila wrote to go with them,” Abigail said. “Then, I made a whole Instagram about it called Youth Votes.”
Kalilla added, “What we were hoping to do with the slides and the information that we put out was to inspire the students to be able to see the importance in voting and the importance of using their voice in that way. [We also wanted] to give students resources to understand the laws and bills that were being put up to vote in California.”
If you get to know Abigail and Kalilla, their Get Civic campaign comes at no surprise, but rather a natural extension of their interests. Abigail’s family is very civically involved, and Kailla works at the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center.
Original artwork by Abigail Richter.
“My parents are very, very involved in the whole whole political thing, so I grew up going to protests, helping with voting,” Abigail said. “I feel like especially with this past year, not just the pandemic, but the whole situation was very important to me. [I wanted to] get everybody to use our voices, because every single one counts.”
Kalilla and Abigail are working to create a club on campus for the following school year, aptly titled Get Civic. Their main objective will be to encourage students to pre-register or register to vote and guide them in the process if needed. There will also, of course, be club meetings.
“I think we can have a lot of meetings,” Kalilla said. “There are definitely people that we can communicate with — our officials, the people who represent Alameda, I think I can get them to come.”