EAST LANSING – A number of political events kicked off the new year, from the Inauguration to the Women’s March and many young adults were eager to get involved.
The Inauguration took place on January 20, 2017 with the Women’s March occurring the following day.
Those who could not make it to the nation’s capital still found ways to express themselves through rallies and protests held in Michigan.
Many of those who attended the events in D.C. plan to continue their political activism here in Michigan.
Lindsay Hall, a senior at Hope College said, “When I had the option to go all the way out there (Washington D.C.), I knew that was what I wanted to do. Especially because I knew that this was going be pretty historic. So I was like I want to be there for it. I want to be able to tell people what it was like to be in D.C. that day.”
Now that Hall is back in Michigan, with a surge of political energy running through her, she plans to reach out to her senators and local lawmakers through letter writing campaigns.
Hannah Smith was another young adult who made their voice heard at the Washington D.C. Women’s March.
Smith is the communications director and Chair of the Women’s Caucus for the College Democrats group at Michigan State University.
Smith feels what is happening in politics is a movement. She said it is something the College Democrats plans to “capitalize on.”
The group influences political activism here in Michigan by helping others call their legislators and using social media to promote events and causes.
The group has also brought in speakers such as representative, Darrin Cammalleri. They hope to bring in more local politicians and prospective candidates.
“Find an issue that you care about,” Smith said, “get involved.”
For college freshmen, Sophie Drieson, that is exactly what she has been doing since she was a young girl.
Drieson has always been open about her political views and says her father is a big influencer. He has attended eight Trump rallies and volunteered going door-to-door for the campaign.
Drieson says she is not sure if she will ever go door-to-door but she does express her opinions by responding to congressional representatives about issues using social media as an outlet.
She was in D.C. for the Inauguration of President Trump. Both Drieson and her brother are very politically active. Drieson said, “My brother wrote an essay about how we are first time voters and are really into this election. He wrote it to the congressional representative (Gary Peters). He said we are first time voters and strong Trump fans. That’s how we won the tickets actually.”
For those who could not make their way to Washington D.C., many still found ways to express their political views.
College freshman, Alex Isaac went home to watch the Inauguration with her family. In November she attended a Donald Trump Jr. Rally held in the MSU Union.
She said being a student in the James Madison College influences her to attend political events held around campus. She also works as an intern in the House of Representatives at the Capitol of Michigan.
Isaac does her best to stay up to date with political events and believes that the governmental issues happening impact everyone.
Hinnah Rajput, an intercultural aide on campus, was another student who found an alternative way to express her views because she could not make it to Washington D.C.
Rajput attended the Women’s March in Lansing and most recently was in attendance to the protest at Detroit Metro Airport against Trump’s Muslim ban.
She said her and several other intercultural aides have been raising money for immigrant families that are directly impacted by the new legislation.
Rajput believes being politically active is extremely important. “During this election cycle for sure, so many American civil liberties have been questioned. The country as we know it definitely changed and if people are upset about that, the only way they can make a difference is to make their opinions known,” said Rajput.