Students are Taking the Lead
This past Friday, April 20, more than 50 students from Davis and Da Vinci High Schools staged a walkout and marched to my office to protest the threat of gun violence and the refusal by Congress to take any action to make our schools safer.
I was not able to be there in person to greet them, but it was my pleasure to speak to them by phone to demonstrate my support. I agree with their goals of reinstating the federal assault weapons ban, instituting universal background checks, and supporting robust mental health funding. But I am especially proud of these high school students for their enthusiasm and continued engagement in political discourse. Their actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of civic activism.
After the massacre in Parkland, the youths of our nation are doing what they should do: they’re not waiting for this do-nothing Congress to take action on their behalf. Instead, they are using their voices to speak out on television and on social media. They are holding rallies and voter registration drives. They are no longer pleading with us to do something. They’re telling us in no uncertain terms that they will do everything they can to replace those Members of Congress who refuse to support strong gun safety regulations.
Congress would be wise to listen to their concerns. The Trump Administration’s policies on immigration, the environment, education, economic policy, women’s rights, and many other issues have motivated younger generations into taking a more active role in the electoral process. The March For Our Lives movement inspired by the survivors of the Parkland shooting has been the galvanizing force. I believe that lawmakers should be doing more to empower younger voices, and California has been doing just that by giving 16-year-olds the ability to pre-register to vote, as well as expanding voting opportunities on college campuses.
I also believe we need to do more to give young people hands-on experience in government and policy development, and that’s why my office maintains a robust Civic Internship Program to allow college students to learn about how our government works and get a head start on a rewarding career in public service. In fact, over two thirds of my current staff members got their start as interns in my office. I invite students from all backgrounds to learn more and apply at garamendi.house.gov/services/internships.
I strongly encourage every student to find opportunities in public service, whether through my office or other avenues. After my graduation from UC Berkeley, I went into the Peace Corps with my wife Patti and served for two amazing years in Ethiopia. That experience set the stage for my career, and my life wouldn’t have been the same without it. I believe everyone should seek out these life-changing experiences.
I will also be hosting a series of town halls throughout the 3rd District this May. I encourage you to attend these events and make your voice heard about the issues that are important to you. To see my full schedule of events, please visit garamendi.house.gov/about/events.