ASAP works toward community change


photo by Sacha Gilbert

ASAP President Damian Thomas is presents a PowerPoint on low voter turnouts. Thomas hopes students in the club can help fix that.

Over the past year students across the country have come together to fight for their rights.

“I think it’s important for students to realize they are a part of the community,” English teacher Samantha Richardson said. “[People] don’t just turn 18 and they are citizens of the United States — they’ve always been citizens of the United States.”

Friday Aug. 17 was the first meeting of American Students Advocating for Progress, a club that engages young people with an interest in politics.  Club members are trying to become more involved and influence other students to be more educated.

Last year, this school and others across the U.S. held walkouts where students could express their opinions, walkouts which started after the Parkland shooting on Feb. 14.  At the walkouts, students who were eligible were encouraged to sign up to vote. This year people who join the club are continuing these projects and tackling political subjects they are passionate about.

Last year, senior Damian Thomas was part of the walkouts. He helped organize them, something that impacted him to start the club.

The club will cover other topics, too. At the moment members are trying to get grocery stores to donate their unused perishable food to local people in need, so they are going to be talking to local politicians and charities. This is one of the big projects they hope to start this year.

“We can discuss anything that’s important because this club is nondiscriminatory. It’s open to everyone, and those subjects can range from poverty in the local area to national issues,” Richardson said.

Starting these big projects gives students an opportunity to change the subjects they are passionate about. The club gives students a direct tunnel to their elected officials. They can make a change such as trying to give former reformed felons the right to vote back, but it can be difficult without help or a sense of direction.

“The main goal of the club is to get students involved in their community and to realize that they have the power to make change and start small, start local, and it can spread to a national level,” Richardson said.

The next meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 21 from 2:30-3:30.