Even though they will not be able to vote in the upcoming presidential election, a group of Round Rock High School students has been awarded the ServiceVote Fellowship from Youth Service America. The prestigious fellowship is one of only 10 awarded in the nation.
The goal of the ServiceVote Fellowship is to engage young people in the political process with a focus on voter education and registration.
The group of teens is no stranger to political activism. In April 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Mainur Khan and Zach Moser noticed a concerning trend among their peers: many fellow students were either sharing misinformation about COVID-19 or seemed apathetic to current events altogether.
Maniur and Zach along with two other Round Rock ISD students, Juan Rivas and Jordyn Tunnell, resolved to fix this problem by finding a way to make politics and current events more accessible to other teenagers. Thus, the Austin Teen Coalition was formed.
According to their website, the Austin Teen Coalition is a teen-led think tank tackling the issue of youth voter turnout in the greater Austin area aiming to stimulate and spark interest for the political process through articles, interviews, and other mediums of information.
The hard-working, politically aware teens have interviewed an impressive list of political figures, hosted virtual town halls, and written several articles all of which are posted on their website.
When asked about his passion for politics, co-founder, Mainur Khan, had this to say, “I’ve always been interested in politics, but I was inspired to start playing an active hand in our political system after talking with my buddy Zach about how important it was for teens to make their voice heard in how we operate as a city, state, and country. Our goal is to learn alongside our peers and grasp a deeper knowledge of politics with them through this process.”
The group plans to hit the ground running conducting outreach to schools, youth groups, and their peers. They will educate others about National Political Conventions, September 11 Day of Remembrance, presidential debates and election day.