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Former Missouri state representative speaks to Feminist Club

Members+of+the+Feminist+club+eagerly+talk+with+former+legislator+Stacey+Newman+as+she+educates+students+on+the+importance+of+having+a+voice.+She+spoke+to+the+club+for+two+hours+after+school+in+the+history+concept+center.+%E2%80%9CMy+goal+as+an+activist+is+to+talk+to+as+many+people+as+I+can%2C%E2%80%9D+Newman+said.
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Former Missouri state representative speaks to Feminist Club

Members of the Feminist club eagerly talk with former legislator Stacey Newman as she educates students on the importance of having a voice. She spoke to the club for two hours after school in the history concept center. “My goal as an activist is to talk to as many people as I can,” Newman said.

Members of the Feminist club eagerly talk with former legislator Stacey Newman as she educates students on the importance of having a voice. She spoke to the club for two hours after school in the history concept center. “My goal as an activist is to talk to as many people as I can,” Newman said.

Catherine Widowski

Members of the Feminist club eagerly talk with former legislator Stacey Newman as she educates students on the importance of having a voice. She spoke to the club for two hours after school in the history concept center. “My goal as an activist is to talk to as many people as I can,” Newman said.

Catherine Widowski

Catherine Widowski

Members of the Feminist club eagerly talk with former legislator Stacey Newman as she educates students on the importance of having a voice. She spoke to the club for two hours after school in the history concept center. “My goal as an activist is to talk to as many people as I can,” Newman said.

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In her last Veto session as a legislator, Democrat Stacey Newman of the 87th district said goodbye to her nine-year career as a representative for Missouri. But in an effort to spread her message to a younger audience, Newman visited the Feminist Club to share what she has learned as a member of a minority party and to encourage students to have a more active voice in politics.

Newman lobbied against Missouri ¨Conceal and Carry¨ proposals for three years after the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Her daughter had just appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show to talk about her newfound fear of guns.

“I was just blindsided by the fact that my little kid could talk more eloquently about gun violence than I could,” Newman said.

Now, the issues that she focuses on are reproductive rights, gun violence prevention and voting rights. She uses her platform to advocate for active political participation at the state level—especially of adolescents—to create social change.

“Congress is glamorous, it’s exciting, it’s in DC. Everybody talks about flipping the house, but meanwhile, most of the policy around the country is happening at the state level, and nobody knows who is voting on their behalf,” Newman said.

Quorum States, a legislative database, found that state legislatures introduce about 23 times the number of bills that Congress does in any given session, which lasts from about January to June depending on the state.

“We [legislators] are all elected by very few people. I’ve never been elected by more than maybe 1,800 out of 35,000 constituents,” Newman said. “Most of us at the state level are elected in the primaries where nobody votes.”

Newman encourages teens to model after other activists around the country and to use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to voice their opinions and grow their network.

“My goal as an activist is to talk to as many people as I can. Just because you can’t vote doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact,” Newman said. “Regardless of what you’re doing in high school, pay attention.”

Junior and Feminist Club co-leader Sabrina Bohn plans to talk more in-depth about political issues and to brainstorm ways to spread the message of the club to the rest of the school.

“I’m definitely going to encourage students to become involved in politics and get educated about who their state representatives are,” Bohn said.

Newman stresses that the main goal of activism should be to create noise so that the people who are in office realize that they might not have a wide consensus from the public on certain issues, meaning they might have to change their stance if they want to be reelected.

“Number one, figure out right now what issue you care most about. Then, get to know a lot about that issue. Don’t wait until there’s a tragedy,” Newman said. “You guys can testify–you don’t have to be anybody special–just come say what’s good and what’s bad. Force adults to pay attention to you.”

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