Posted on December 27, 2016.
Posted on November 30, 2016.
In the wake of this election, I return to what drives me most days, and that is: How can I change things for the better, right here, right now? Whose life can I improve today? How can I make the city I live in safer today? What can I do to improve the education system and education outcomes for the people in my city today?
It is the TODAY part that motivates me, because I know that each of us can in fact make a difference every day. We don’t need to wait for an election. We shouldn’t wait until we retire or have more time, or finish X or Y. We should do what we can now, today.
There are many organizations that deserve our attention, our energy and our financial support. First among them for me is the Junior State of America (JSA). I am convinced that a student-run organization focused on civil discourse and civic engagement is exactly what our nation needs…today and for years to come.
I watch our incredible JSA students, more than 10,000 of them across the country, grapple with challenging political questions with a grace and dignity few grown ups managed to muster during this political campaign. I find myself in awe of the sophistication of JSA student discourse, and the near boundless empathy they show for their fellow students, regardless of political, religious or ethnic background.
Please help us reach more young leaders with JSA’s unique student-led, student-run programs. I am focused on what I can do to support civic education and the rising generation of leaders TODAY. I hope you’ll join me.
Rachel Kaganoff Stern
President, The Junior Statesmen Foundation
Posted on November 10, 2016.
As people across the country headed to the polls on November 8, 2016, JSAers made their voices heard by voting in a virtual election conducted on our app. Check out what tomorrow’s leaders had to say – not only on the candidates for president but on congressional races and ballot measures as well!
These results offer a glimpse at the priorities of the next generation and the representatives that speak to them and therefore offers telling perspective on the political future of America. The students learned the difficulty of making decisions that could change the course of a nation while also developing an understanding of the importance of voting to our American Democracy. They were also given the opportunity to share their opinion and learn from others by posting on an activity feed that included candidate endorsements, pictures of mock elections at schools, and real-time election updates.
Posted on September 7, 2016.
Participating in JSA is truly a life-changing experience. Beyond the fun experienced at conventions and chapter activities, students gain skills that are necessary for success in higher education and the work place. Young people are also given a taste of university life, introducing them to the rigors of college-level classes, through JSA summer programs held at Georgetown, Princeton and Stanford.
Your Gift Will Be Doubled! Our volunteer Trustees believe passionately in JSA’s mission and have personally put up a $55,000 matching fund. It will double any amount you give by September 30th!
We have something special here – please stand with us to keep it going.
Posted on March 18, 2015.
Looking across the messages scrawled across the Fight Apathy posters in their hands it was easy to see how the members of the DC JSA staff came to find themselves dedicated to the cause of getting students involved in public life; each started from deeply felt commitment to the causes they held in their hands and to the idea that it was important for our public discourse to start conversations about those commitments.
Beliefs spanned the political spectrum and ranged from perpetually unachieved goals such as “Equal Pay For Equal Work” and “DC Statehood” to those with momentum such as “Marriage Equality” and to the politically unlikely such as “Flat Taxation”, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, and “Gun Control.”
Andy Clark, the Program Director for the Ohio River Valley and Midwest States and a recent candidate for his Advisory Neighborhood Commission this last November said he supported DC Statehood because “More people live here than in two other states. When our nation goes to war young people from DC who might be in harms way have no voice in our government.”
Even after the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act and a half-century after the start of the modern Women’s Movement women still earn less than men do for the same work. Elizabeth Ventura, the Mid-Atlantic State Program Director, said that she “Believes in Equal Pay for Equal Work” because it’s basic fairness and something unfinished in our society.
Larry Guillemette advocated for a Flat Tax as a matter of fairness. He discussed the way in which people pay income taxes on their earnings, then sales taxes when they spend those earnings, and in many states, estate taxes on the previously taxed money after a lifetime of saving. A flat tax and scrapping multiple levels of taxation would lower the burden on working people and be a fairer way to pay taxes he said.
An immigrant from Sierra Leone herself, Winstina Hughes explained how difficult the immigration system could be, especially for students, who might not be able to stay in the country after completing their studies, or who might be barred from gaining permanent residency or returning if they over-stayed student visas even briefly. If our nation adopts comprehensive immigration reform then at the very least, our society might better hold on to immigrant students whose drive and education contribute so much to our society.
Fight Apathy is about starting conversations about what we believe in so that we can engage in conversations, share ideas, and realize that each and every one of us cares deeply about something, and that something is worth advocating and voting for.