Politics is Personal, Powerful

ThreeSixty reporters took a moment to reflect on what they learn at the Winter News Team: Capitol Edition experience. Students spent President’s Day at the Capitol interviewing lawmakers and advocates about legislative issues impacting young people.

We asked reporters to share more about their experience and here are some of their responses.

I Found My Voice at the Capitol

By Marquan Harper

Marquan and Dylan Leung
Marquan Harper (front, holding phone) and Dylan Leung (back) interview Rep. Cedrick Frazier at the Capitol.

As a young adult who has spent my entire life in St. Paul, the Capitol has always been a prominent fixture in my cityscape. Its majestic architecture stands as a constant reminder of the power and significance that lie within those walls. Yet, despite its proximity, the Capitol has often felt like a distant realm, reserved for the select few who navigate the intricate corridors of politics.

Growing up, I viewed politics as something separate from my identity—a realm dominated by older generations and disconnected from the realities of my everyday life. It was easy to feel disengaged and apathetic, believing that my voice held little sway in the grand scheme of things. I sensed that many of my peers shared this sentiment; politics seemed like a world apart, irrelevant to our lives as young adults in St. Paul.

However, my recent experience at the Capitol has challenged these perceptions in profound ways. Tasked with interviewing lawmakers about the restoration of voting rights, I found myself thrust into the heart of political discourse, surrounded by fellow young journalists who shared my passion for civic engagement. Together, we embarked on a journey that would redefine my understanding of politics and my place within it.

Walking through the halls of the Capitol, I couldn’t help but marvel at its grandeur. Yet, amidst the opulent surroundings, I discovered something unexpected: a sense of empowerment and belonging. Engaging directly with lawmakers and witnessing the inner workings of government, I realized that politics wasn’t just a distant spectacle; it was a tangible force that shaped the world around me.

Surrounded by individuals who were committed to amplifying the voices of our generation, I felt a renewed sense of purpose. Each interview, each conversation, became an opportunity to advocate for change and challenge the status quo. As I listened to lawmakers discuss the importance of restoring voting rights, I understood the gravity of our mission—to ensure that every voice is heard, regardless of age or background.

My experience at the Capitol has transformed my perspective on politics. No longer do I view it as a distant realm; rather, it is an integral part of who I am—a citizen with the power to effect change. Moving forward, I am committed to staying engaged, to bridging the gap between the Capitol and our communities, and to advocating for a more inclusive and representative democracy.

In the heart of St. Paul, amidst the towering spires of the Capitol, I have found my voice. And I am determined to make it heard.

Educating Others on Mental Health Through Reporting

By Nieyomi Adams

Nomi Rep. Edelson Tamia
Nieyomi Adams (left) with Rep. Heather Edelson and Tamia Hassan at ThreeSixty’s Winter News Team: Capitol Edition.

My experience at the Winter News ThreeSixty workshop was super fun! My topic was teens struggling with mental health. I love talking about mental health and the importance of accessible resources because I’m a person who struggles with mental health, so educating others about it is a passion of mine.

I got to interview Rep. Heather Edelson and Aspire Executive Director Kirsten Anderson about upcoming teen mental health bills and what they mean for teens in Minnesota. It was a great experience.

During this workshop, I made new connections and learned new things about my topic and general news. I think all teens in Minnesota should take advantage of St. Thomas’ ThreeSixty program because the opportunities presented to you are great. Also, the loving and kind environment makes everyone feel welcome not to mention how fun it is, it will have you coming back for more. Reflecting on the days I spent here makes me sad because the workshop is over but also excites me for the upcoming workshops.

Going to the Capitol was a surreal experience for me because it was my first time being there, and it is gorgeous inside and outside. Even though the outside is intimidating because of how huge it is and the amount of entrances, once I got inside I was blown about by how beautiful and elegant it was. We got to take a tour and see where legislative meetings take place, and it was super cool.

I recommend taking a trip to the Capitol just for fun. All in all, this Winter News Team was a lot of fun!

Ethnic Studies is Important to Me and My Siblings

By Ethan Vang

Rep. Sencer Mura Ethan Vang
Rep. Samantha Sencer-Mura talks to ThreeSixty reporter Ethan Vang about how the ethnic studies requirement is important for Minnesota students.

This ThreeSixty program I did was amazing.

It is good for me because I get to unlock more options for my career and learn and find what was best for me throughout my high school journey. ThreeSixty’s Winter News Team was an amazing experience, especially for me. I have done a lot, but this workshop is where we get to interview a professional spokesperson, which was amazing.

I enjoyed interviewing Rep. Samantha Sencer-Mura. She was an amazing person who still has a huge future ahead of her and will have a huge impact for students of colors. I enjoyed interviewing Sencer-Mura because she talks about how she doesn’t get noticed a lot in high school about her culture.

I can relate to her because as a Hmong person who goes to Centennial High School with few students of color. I do feel left out and not included especially with my identity and my culture, and I am glad that Sencer-Mura helped support and push this ethnic studies bill to becoming a law for all of Minnesota. I wish it was just a bit sooner, so I get to experience those ethnic studies courses, because I want to understand and learn more about my culture and other cultures.

Sencer-Mura is an amazing person who taught me a lot of things. I am glad I had a chance to interview her because hearing from her perspective, I understand why this ethnic studies bill is so important to her, and I can see that my siblings who are younger than me will get to experience ethnic studies and learn more about cultures.

This ethnic studies bill will impact students of color a lot because they get to talk about their cultures and get to feel included in history. Sencer-Mura is the reason students of color get to feel included in history, and thanks to her I get to see my younger siblings experience ethnic studies.

Click here to learn more about ThreeSixty’s 2024 Winter Workshop: Capitol Edition.