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The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Florida House representative Anna V. Eskamani speaks at Girl Up meeting

Anna+V.+Eskamani+speaks+about+the+process+of+getting+elected+in+the+Florida+House.+Once+elected%2C+a+rep+member+will+serve+a+two-year+term%2C+and+can+be+reelected+six+times%2C+though+most+successful+politicians+try+to+get+elected+in+congress+before+then.
photo by Holly Smyers
Anna V. Eskamani speaks about the process of getting elected in the Florida House. Once elected, a rep member will serve a two-year term, and can be reelected six times, though most successful politicians try to get elected in congress before then.

March is known for many things. For basketball fans, it’s the beginning of March Madness. For the Romans, it was the first month on the calendar. For Julius Caesar, it was…unfortunate. And for women everywhere, it means a chance to celebrate their history and think towards the future. Girl Up chose to honor Women’s History Month by welcoming a guest speaker: Florida House representative Anna V. Eskamani, who discussed important issues regarding woman and encouraged students to pursue the causes most important to them. 

“It’s very empowering because it’s not every day you get to see representatives willing to talk one on one with, the people that they are representing,” said Girl Up vice president Jazzy Comption. “And I think that’s really nice that not only is she catering to voters, but she came here and took the time to appeal to young voters and showed them what it’s like to be a woman in power.”

Currently, Eskamani is the state representative for District 42 and is the first Iranian-American to be elected in any public office in the state of Florida. Growing up in Orlando, she always felt support from her friends and community and wanted to give back. 

I’ve always just been grateful for the love and support my community has shown me over the years, [and]I really want to be in a position to give back,” Eskamani said.

In her talk, Eskamani shared the process of becoming an elected official, and shared a passion for topics such as reproductive, LGBTQ+, and women’s rights, all of which she focuses on in lawmaking. 

“I really do think that she adheres to a lot of the principles that we’re working towards. That’s so important to know that we have a person in a position of power who is fighting for our rights,” Girl Up secretary Zarah Ateea said

While having people in a position of power acknowledge student issues is validating, actually meeting those people in person adds a whole other level. Many of the students in GirlUp aspire to be involved in politics and/or large-scale change, and actually meeting someone who has done so is invaluable.  

“I feel like one of the hardest parts about being a woman is you always go into a room expecting something negative. It’s so good to see a woman who can just walk into a room and not have to hide or be too scared to have an intellectual conversation,” said Compton. “When she spoke, she gave us our everyday language. Sure, she was speaking with professional diction, but at the end of the day, she was talking in a way that was relatable.”

Eskamani also serves as an inspiration to students who actively want to pursue a career in politics, or be leaders in their community. Hearing her story about the process of becoming a representative and getting an idea of what it is like to actually serve showed any students interested in this career path that it is possible.

“I have been interested in political science for a while, but it’s very much at the back of my mind. Hearing her talk about the obstacles she had to face makes me realize, ‘Oh, I actually can do this,’” Ateeq said. 

As important as it is to have aspirational leaders today, none of it will matter if the next generation doesn’t follow suit. This is why having speakers like  Eskamani are so valuable- to inspire the next generation of leaders to take action. 

  “I’m just keeping the seat warm, you know, for the next person to come,” said Eskamani. “And I really want to remind young people that this work takes time, and so you [have] to lose a couple of fights to win, so if you don’t win the first time you’ve got to keep up and keep going. I emphasize that with all my young leaders. The world is yours, but you have to be persistent and focused on long-term victories.” 

The purpose of speakers like Eskamani is to expose students to the inner workings of a world they might not know much about, and maybe spark a passion for important causes, be it political, charitable or anything in between. Girl Up and other service-oriented clubs give students an outlet to get involved with issues they care about, no matter what they may be.

“We’re here for something really important. Honestly, I found my purpose inGirl Up. It really did change my life and I feel like it has the potential to do that for others. We’re gonna keep that going to really help our community,” Compton said.

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Holly Smyers, Staff Reporter
Holly is a sophomore at Hagerty High School, and this is her first year on staff. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading and ice skating.
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