• Marriage in Maine

Using Their Voices

John McKenna's picture
Written by John McKenna
May 12, 2014 - 12:12pm

Beth Allen - EqualityMaine Programs Director

EqualityMaine’s 2nd Annual Youth Lobby Day was held on March 20th.  Students from  across Maine --from Machias to Kittery-- came together to  learn about Maine’s citizen legislature and use their voices to advocate for continued legislative support to create safer and more welcoming schools.  

Students had the opportunity to meet legislators, and were hosted by Rep. Andrew McLean.  They met with advocates from the ACLU of Maine and EqualityMaine and  had a guided tour of the State House from former legislator Dale McCormick. 

The students had lobby lunches with  eight legislators from their own districts and members of the education committee.  The students shared their stories and experiences with bullying and urged legislators to continue to seek ways that they can make schools safer for all students. Two students were invited to address the education committee. Raising the concern that inconsistencies remain between schools systems regarding culture and policies to prevent and address bullying. 

The day was filled with opportunities for students to learn and encouragement  to use their voices to seek change and engage in the process.  It's hard to quantify the significance of this day, in which conservative members of the legislature were actively  seeking feedback from a transgender student, or of the House standing to recognize the presence of LGBTQ students with EqualityMaine in the gallery, but it did not escape me.  It was a great day to watch these young leaders use their voices, and to see those voices be heard.   

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