Young Leaders Find an Innovative Way to have a Voice in Politics

By: Net Impact staff | November 8, 2017

Bullying is occurring on Capitol Hill and across local and state governments, but one initiative is training political leaders on how to manage bullies: DC Bully Busters. Led by a group of 11 and 12-year-old girls in Seattle, Washington, their mission is to inspire and train Senators and Congresspeople to be courageous and not bystanders as bullying is unacceptable everywhere including in Washington, DC.

We were first introduced to DC Bully Busters from Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative, on the keynote stage at the 2017 Net Impact Conference. He shared the story of his daughter, one of the leaders of this campaign, and attendees were so inspired by this unique and impactful story that they asked us for more information.

Watch their video to learn more about DC Bully Busters and read on to hear from the girls behind this incredible mission. 

With help from Aaron Hurst, we interviewed these young emerging leaders on their inspiration, plans for the future, and advice to others looking to launch an impact project in their school or community: 

Lola

What motivated you to launch DC Bully Busters?

My voice matters even though I can’t vote. Bullying in politics is a terrible thing and it means that people’s views are not being respected. That hurts our democracy. I know how bully impacts students and we know it is wrong.

What inspires you most about the progress you have made so far?

We have so many students who wrote letters who now understand what this work means. We traveled to DC and were able to meet with politicians and they were really inspired to not be bystanders. Nancy Pelosi said it was one of her favorite meetings she had.

How has this experienced affected your future career goals?

It made me realize that I can do anything I want in my career if I am passionate about it. It made me want to make sure that in everything I do, I make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

Lilah

What motivated you to launch DC Bully Busters?

I think it’s often overlooked that kids pay attention to the news, just as much and sometimes more, then adults do. A lot of kids, especially in the frustration and high tension of the 2016 election, were being awakened by the true world of politics and were deeply disappointed by what they discovered, me and my friends included.  We wanted to make an impact that would really count so we decided to form a group for positive change.

What is the best lesson you have learned from leading DC Bully Busters?

 When you are feeling frustrated, you can always channel that anger into positive action. We were so tired of swallowing our anger that we felt we really needed to do something so the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you don’t have to just swallow your answer but you can channel it to create resistance to bullies and oppressors.

What advice would you give to someone launching their own impact project?

Go with your gut and always remember your inspiration.  It’s important to remember what’s motivating you and what brings you fulfillment.

Claire

What is the best lesson you have learned from leading DC Bully Busters?

The best lesson I have learned is to always believe in what you are doing and believe that you can go far with it because no matter what issue you are focused on there are people who also care and will help you take it to the next level. Also to be confident and proud of what you are doing because it is important.  Some people may not have the values or beliefs or the courage to stand up so be confident enough for both them and yourself.

How has this experience affected your future career goals?

I have learned a lot more about politics and may consider a role in the government.  I definitely want to help people and keep standing up for what I believe in.

What advice would you give to someone launching their own impact project?

Be proud and confident, work with others to grow your group or organization, know what you are talking about, and always remember that every issue is important and needs to be heard.

Grace

What motivated you to launch DC Bully Busters? 

I remember as the election was progressing, listening to all of the hate, cruelty, and discrimination that was being said and thinking about all the kids who look up to politicians as their role models. What was being said was not anything that happened before and it was not okay for children to watch this on live television and think that this hurtful language was what our country stood for. Injustice, attacking other people based on race, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, or gender identity. That is what motivated me to start this campaign. 

What advice would you give to someone launching their own impact project?

At the start of our campaign to launch the DCBB, I remember thinking that it would make no difference. Sure, it might get some kids to write letters, but it would have no lasting change. Soon though, I started noticing the difference we were making in the community around us and the peaceful change we were creating in the White House. Our letter writing campaign had taken a long time to start but, once schools started writing letters, it spread like wildfire.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results the minute you start your own project, it takes time to see change but once you do, it motivates you to work harder. This time of hesitation is more time to get out and make a difference, so try your hardest, and never give up if things don’t work out the first time.   

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