Florida International University students interning in Washington D.C. for the fall semester joined young adults from different universities in the nation’s capital Thursday evening to understand the vitality of civic participation in local and national elections.
This event was one of many from the MyVote Project, a non-partisan organization co-founded by Sari Kaufman. She is a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. After seeing the lack of knowledge in her community about local elected officials, she was inspired to provide simplified resources for voters to better understand the candidates and policies on their ballot.
“We are in communities throughout the United States and we try to focus locally because politics is local and everything starts locally,” said Gita Stulberg, co-founder and executive director of the MyVote Project.
Stulberg and Bela Urbina, an FIU undergraduate student interning at the American Foreign Policy Council and friend of Kaufman, both helped lead the event at the university’s campus in Washington, D.C. They focused the discussion on Florida’s Senate Bill 266. The law limits diversity, equity and inclusion in public higher education institutions throughout the state.
The team originally planned for the audience to be divided in half: one side in favor of the legislation and the other against it. But the students’ passion for inclusivity in politics transformed the area into a safe space to express their opinions on how they see SB266 impacting society.
Urbina explained how proud she was to see the event she helped create bring so many people with different political ideologies together.
“We had someone from Marco Rubio’s staff come here and we had interns from the think tank that I work at,” Urbina said. “It was really cool to see people come together and have a cooperative, community conversation on how we can bring the community together and make change,” she said.