story by Mishti Dhawan
illustration by Safiya Dewji
Throughout history, the voices of youth have often been silenced when it comes to politics and activism. Youth protesters, activists, and leaders have been ridiculed for their passion for fighting for justice and equality in America.
This is a problem that has existed for a very long time, as many people continue to think that youth are immature, ignorant, and don’t understand politics as well as they claim they do. But beyond that, the voices of female protesters and activists are ridiculed even more as they are deemed too angry, or man-hating. However, things are changing, as young women are leading more women rights movements and fighting for equality, more than ever before.
One example of a youth girl of color taking over political advocacy is Sachi Madan, a senior at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington. With a unique sense of determination and passion towards political awareness, Sachi has been working on encouraging youth activism, in an effort to challenge the attitude towards youth activists, an attitude that mocks youth for their attempts to change policies and laws that protect institutionalized racism.
To combat this attitude, Sachi recently started a chapter of BackPAC, a non-profit student-led bipartisan organization that seeks to promote youth involvement in politics, in Washington. Ever since, she has organized multiple Voter Registration Drives in multiple counties across Washington to help register seniors at high schools, and empower them to get more involved.
Beyond Voter Registration Drives, Sachi is also involved with Next Generation Politics, a non-profit political organization. She helps plan multiple events for youth such as civic forums that connect youth to politicians, to ensure that youth get a voice in policy making. At her school, Sachi is also involved with a Club called Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) and investigates the policies that her school district passes, to make sure that they keep in mind the values of equality.
As a person of color, Sachi faces different barriers each day such as microaggressions, and she finds that sometimes people don’t take her seriously because she’s female. However, instead of letting these experiences get to her, she continues to organize and plan activities that give youth a platform to voice their opinions because she’s hopeful and unafraid. She wants to challenge the idea that women activists are just angry and man-hating to bring forth the truth that they are passionate and worthy of bringing about change.
With leaders like Sachi Madan transforming their communities, we are likelier to bring change to policies that impact women, and we are likely to see more representation in the government. With women leaders of color, we can create herstory.