#ElectHer Workshop Builds Female Trailblazers of Tomorrowcsudhbulletin December 11, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Dayzsha Lino, Staff Writer
As women continue to take congressional seats on Capitol Hill, the approximately 11,000 female students at CSUDH are looking for ways to get their voices heard. The Women’s Resource Center held its third annual #ElectHer event on Wednesday, Nov. 20th in LSU 324.
The workshop attracted dozens of young women (and a few males) at CSUDH who wanted to learn more about getting involved in campus government and running for student office. Dinner was provided by the WRC, as well as gift bags that included an ASI journal and a list of upcoming ASI elections.
The #ElectHer program was created by a nonpartisan nonprofit organization called Running Start, whose goal is to train young women to run for office. Since 2009, Running Start has held over 300 #ElectHer workshops at 118 schools across the country.
In this three hour long training course, students had a chance to minglewith one another and participate in activities meant to help them succeed in their political careers.
One of the activities encouraged students to share their thoughts on what issues mean the most to them. Hot button topics like immigration, homelessness, and prison reform were brought during this exercise.
They also expressed their concerns about the state of women working in government within today’s political landscape. Janneth Najera, a Chicano Studies major, said that women — especially women of color — in politics bring something to the table.
“As not just women, but women of color, we step into places and are constantly looked upon as a minority, and I think it’s important to break that narrative,” Najero said.
The night’s keynote speaker Mayor Aja Brown, made history in 2013 when she became the youngest mayor ever to be elected by the City of Compton. She has been involved in many projects including efforts to revitalize Compton’s economic development and infrastructural growth, and has partnered up with Girls Fly!, a global initiative that exposes girls and young women to careers in STEM.
At the #ElectHer workshop, Brown shared her knowledge and experiences as a female politician, the running process, campaign finance, and the difficulties of being a woman in government.
“Even my strongest supporters to this day, unfortunately, are not always women,” Brown said, “and so we have an opportunity to change that by really staying who we are as individual leaders and not necessarily allowing gender roles to assign our capabilities.”
Two ASI representatives Itzel Marin ( ASI Director of Student Services) and Rihab Shuaib ( ASI Vice President of Finance) were also guest speakers at the workshop. As student government leaders themselves, Marin and Shauib gave their input on what it’s like to participate in on-campus politics. Shauib said that talking to administrators and listening to the concerns of students are key to running for student office.
“It is a big time commitment, but it’s something to be mindful of,” Shauib said.
Queenstar Akrong, Director of Partner Mobilization at The College Board, was the host and moderator of the #ElectHer workshop. Akrong has worked with House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill, and strongly believes that in our current political climate, women are ready to see a more culturally diverse congress that looks more like them.
“In 2018, we saw a lot of women run for office and a lot of women get elected into public office,” Akrong said, “So I think that this is just the beginning of greater things to come.”