| Phoebe Rak | firstname.lastname@example.org | January 28, 2020 |
On the evening of Thursday, January 23rd, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) held a town hall at South San Francisco High School to clear up some of the potentially confusing details about the ongoing impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump. Speier’s staff partnered with the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) to make the event happen. Although this event was aimed specifically at bay area students, residents of all ages came out to participate.
SMCOE interns senior Yamini Prasad, senior Sonal Maharaj, junior Griffin Conely, junior Madison Shem, sophomore Amrisha Maharaj, and senior Daniel Pang were in attendance.
These students have interned with the SMCOE Civics Initiative, working on the project “Voke Media,” a play on “woke voter,” which is a branch under SMCOE’s Project Solutionaries Initiative. The students are aiming to “Vocalize a new generation of kindness and empathy,” and worked to help on the event as a part of the project.
Walking in the door, attendees were handed pocket Constitutions as a gift and a way to follow along with the complicated implications of constitutional law within the articles of impeachment. The event opened with County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee introducing the project, and the congresswoman giving a special thanks to all of the students in attendance as well as other local politicos such as Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (Dist.22) and representative of city councils and school boards in the bay area.
Afterward, the audience welcomed Speier to the stage. She quizzed the audience about the historical impeachments and how the concept of impeachment is presented in the Constitution. Speier then handed the mic over to Stanford Law Professor Bernadette Meyler, who provided a deeper background on why Trump was impeached and gave the audience more insight into the issue through the lens of the constitution.
Meanwhile, Speier’s interns walked up and down the aisles handing out papers for audience members to ask questions of both Meyler and Speier.
Questions ranged from the abrupt “It is obvious that these proceedings are purely politically based and have no leg to stand on. Please refute this in your answer.” to the simple “How can there be a trial with no witnesses and no evidence?” or “Why are we doing this if Trump may not be impeached?”
To the latter question, Speier responded, “We have an obligation to do it. If we do not pursue justice even against odds, then our country fails.”
Pang felt that the congresswoman was very powerful in her words and reported that “It was heartening. The best part was definitely seeing the other young people there. Knowing that they care enough to give up time to just sit and listen to influential women talk about politics made me very happy.”
Other students agreed, Prasad stating, “The opportunity to witness an in-depth analysis of the checks and balances, the conditions and circumstances that bring about impeachment was very helpful to someone like me, an aspiring political science student.”
You can find out more about Project Solutionaries and the Voke Media at their website, https://sites.google.com/smcoe.org/the-voke-media/home, or on Instagram and Twitter under the username @thevokemedia.