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(Members of Shorewood’s FACT, Youth Rising Up, ACLU Youth Chapter, and Shorewood High School’s student newspaper, Ripples, met with Gov. Tony Evers and other elected officials at the Governor’s residence during the closing reception of Black History Month events sponsored by the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus on Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo by Lorraine Lathen)

After participating in the Legislative Black Caucus Lobby Day event at the Capitol in Madison on Thursday, Feb. 27, members of Shorewood FACT, Youth Rising Up and ACLU’s youth chapter were asked to describe their experience.

“Powerful, inspiring, empowering, intense, fulfilling, influential, eye-opening, challenging and life-changing,” were among the descriptive words they shared.

For Kayla McPike, who joined FACT, Wisconsin’s youth-driven movement of Wisconsin teens spreading the truth about tobacco, four years ago, it was an opportunity to network and also served as an inspiration.

“To see African Americans have the power to guide policy that impacts us, made me believe I can do something like that in my life too,” said McPike, who plans to study political science next year as a freshman in college.

Zephaniah Eiland, a member of Youth Rising Up, said she was inspired to see Black women who grew up in the same neighborhoods as her be in high positions of power.

“We need to see women in those roles because it helps us feel like we can pursue any type of career we want and have the power to make change,” Eiland said.

Olivia Evans, also a member of FACT, said she was pleasantly surprised that legislators, even republicans, not only took the time to listen to their concerns, but seemed ready to take action based on them.

“They really want to do something to help us keep other teens tobacco free,” Evans said.

That fact was not lost on Shorewood High School teacher Stephone Jordan, who served as a chaperone on the trip.

“Politicians care about their constituents so it’s important that we verbalize our concerns with them. They do listen to us and that was proven on this trip,” Jordan said.

To learn more about or join FACT visit factmovement.org.

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