Young Democrats Club, Young Republicans Club work together to get hate crime bill passed in Indiana

Members of the Young Democrats Club discuss antiwar and anarchist views at a meeting with a Vietnam War veteran. Zoe Koniaris, Young Democrats Club president and junior, said she believes political activism is important before you can vote.

Lillian He

Members of the Young Democrats Club discuss antiwar and anarchist views at a meeting with a Vietnam War veteran. Zoe Koniaris, Young Democrats Club president and junior, said she believes political activism is important before you can vote.

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Members of both the young Democrats and Young Republicans Clubs hope to change the fact that Indiana does not have hate crime legislation. According to Chris Elmore, president of Young Republicans Club and sophomore, and James Ziegler, Young Democrats Club sponsor and history teacher, the clubs are planning to colloborate with each other and local lawmakers to pass a hate crime bill in the upcoming legislative session. The bill would set down punishments in order to protect individuals based on religion, race, gender identity and other characteristics.

Elmore said, “Our goal as a coalition of political clubs is we’re hoping to stand behind one bill, push it forward and see how far we can get with it.”
Ziegler said he agreed and added, “We may have our ideological differences but that does not mean we can’t come together to pass reforms to make our society a better place.”
Both the Young Democrats Club and the Young Republicans Club said they hope to inspire students at the school to think about politics or the world in general.
Elmore said, “I think the purpose of Young Republicans Club is to get Republicans in CHS active in Republican politics and in politics in general, but another thing we do is we actually go out and do service projects to show that we are very politically biased towards Republicans, but we care about the communities that we’re living in.”
Zoe Koniaris, president of Young Democrats and junior, said, “(The club’s mission is) to create a community of somewhat like-minded individuals, and we work together to make the change we want to see in the world.”
She also said involvement in politics early can have life-long impacts in terms of civic engagement.
“Getting involved in politics before you can vote is really good because you can figure out what your views are and what your values are so you can apply it later,” Koniaris said.
Ziegler said, “If we don’t remain actively engaged as citizens our politicians are going to be controlled by special interests. It’s important to get engaged at a young age so that your voice can be heard.

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