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Photo courtesy of Sarah Kennedy

BC Students Organize Letter Campaign

After an eventful first couple weeks of the Trump presidency, a group of civic-minded Boston College students gathered for a letter campaign to contact their senators and representatives in the Modulars from 7-10 p.m. on Feb. 6.

The idea for the letter campaign came from Sarah Kennedy, MCAS ‘17, who created a Facebook event page, invited her friends, and encouraged other students to come.

“I knew there was a lot of talk around the election, and I wanted action, instead of just talk,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy organized the event after Donald Trump signed an executive order to prevent immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Over 70 students from states across the country arrived to write letters and call representatives, sending a total of 122 letters and over 50 phone calls.

“I felt really empowered that so many people came out to use their voices on issues they really care about,” said Kennedy. “We had very little overlap with whom the letters were sent to, giving us a wide variety of of issues and representation.”

After providing supplies and even a few sample letters, Kennedy and her friends encouraged those who attended to write their senators and representatives about whatever issues mattered most to them.

“This event is an good starting place for our generation to start practicing civic engagement,” said Leslie Sellers, MCAS ‘17. “For a lot of us, [this election] was the first time we were allowed to vote. However, there is so much more to being an informed and working citizen in this country. It involves getting involved in your state government and getting your voice heard, but so many people aren’t used to writing or calling their senators or representatives.”

The letters addressed multiple issues that are currently gaining national attention, including the confirmation process for cabinet nominations, Donald Trump’s executive orders, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and women’s rights.

Additionally, Kennedy suggested writing letters of support to the local mosques that have experienced discrimination and threats. A week ago, a Texas mosque was burned the day after Donald Trump’s executive order was announced.

“We hope that they feel included in our society,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy, Sellers, and others attending see political activism as another opportunity to put what students have discussed in theology and philosophy classes about service and making the world better into action.

“We view this as an extension of service, and a way to do service to others in less direct ways, but still very impactful ways,” said Sellers.

Many of the students who participated have become more politically engaged this semester, recently attending events including the women’s march on the Boston Common, a march for immigrants and refugees in Copley Square, and rallies organized by student organizations here at Boston College.

“This is just one letter campaign, but it is important to keep writing and calling representatives, even when there isn’t a big group like this,” said Sellers. “I think the student body wants BC to be more politically engaged. This means going to protests and rallies, but also contacting representatives and working in the system.”

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I’m a future elementary teacher who enjoys dabbling in news coverage of politics and social issues on the side.