When so many powerful interests hold sway in the legislative process, children fall through the cracks. While nobody will oppose the motto “Every Child Matters,” few work actively for these causes. Jill Applegate works for one non-profit in which she speaks up for kids in a tough political environment. PAYCE Fellow Juli Dajci (University of Hartford) expresses admiration for Jill when compared with peers who are politically apathetic and officials who prioritize differently. He tells how she perseveres while giving young adults a new perspective on being politically active through nonprofit advocacy.
At age 18, Josh Hughes learned there was an open seat on his rural school district board. He stepped up. A passionate advocate for public education, his service to the board brought a student’s perspective rarely heard. In this audio story, PAYCE Fellow Kelanie Crosswait (Drake University) tells as story based on her and PAYCE Fellow Fatima Hashem’s conversation with Josh. He shares advice for young adults getting involved in politics – how to keep going when things get tough and to remember the values that motivated public service. He believes it’s important to advocate for good causes no matter what the outcome.
How does racism shape the realities of public education in the United States? PAYCE Fellow Ala’ Hamamreh (Al-Quds American Studies) talks to Des Moines Public School Board member Dionna Langford about her efforts to address race and class inequalities in her district. They talk frankly about the problem of white progressives needing to examine their own racism for the District to serve all children.
Sitting down with Phoebe Clark, Meredith Howe (University of New Hampshire) spoke to her about activism in her life. Clark, a senior at Drake University, spoke about the time her and friends disrupted a Republican event, her views on “diversity of tactics,” labels, and how she began to look positively at activism after disillusionment.
Greg Atkinson “Crick’s Unnecessary Children,” Parvus Decree “Into Oblivion (Partially
Recomposed),” Broke for Free “Night Owl,” Transpanda “Thunder Panda,” Lonely Punk “Easter
Island” – all music from FreeMusicArchive.org
Project Vote Smart is a Des Moines, Iowa based organization that uses volunteer power to create a database of transparent information about candidates and politicians all across the United States. Peter McLaughlin, Vote Smart’s Director of Elections and Candidates Research, explains why nonpartisan research is his passion and vital to American democracy. His story is told by PAYCE Fellow Rana Rishmawi (Al-Quds American Studies) who warns that voting, unlike shopping, requires research in order to avoid a bitter outcome.
Ash Bruxvoort is a young adult active in the local Democratic Socialists of America and Women, Food, and Agriculture Network. PAYCE Fellow Majd Aburrub (Al Quds-Bard) considers what we can learn for ourselves by following Ash’s example of solidarity and helping others. Ash’s superpower is her attention to the question: “How can I help bring out what makes that person special and draw their attention to it?”
In a world full of opportunities, women are told how to present and carry themselves. PAYCE Fellow Alexis Jones’ podcast delves into Dionna Langford’s personal stories of what motivated her to run for School Board. The youngest African-American woman to serve in Des Moines, Dionna offers an enthralling narrative of real-life obstacles she has faced when deciding to run, and how they have helped to shape her perception of what changes need to occur to repair and rebuild Des Moines. Jones is a recent MA recipient from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. She writes that Langford’s story gives her hope.
PAYCE Fellow Afnan Abbasi (Al-Quds Bard) profiles Des Moines children’s rights advocate Jill Appelgate. Jill is motivated to fight for children who are vulnerable because they lack a voice in the political process. Afnan reflects on Jill’s story with a commentary on children’s human rights and the ways that we fall short in our obligation to future generations.
Join PAYCE Fellow Jeffrey Simmons as he profiles Abshir Omar Mahamed, a 26 year old Somali refugee and Muslim, who made the bold decision to run for the Des Moines City Council. Although Abshir did not win the council seat, the change that he was able to make in the Des Moines is far from over. Abshir’s story is one that relates to us all. We all have diverse backgrounds, and we all face hardship, but that does not mean that we can’t make a difference in our communities.