Girls Build Challenge: Venice Votes!

Minerva Theresa, Features Editor


Julissa Ventureno
Junior Olivia Mariano helps hand out pamphlets and voter registration forms to passing students.

Two weeks after the Girls Build LA Summit, a team of attendees took on a challenge, which prompted them to engage in a three-part competition. Each school’s team had to host a voter pre-registration event, publicize their progress, record a message about themselves. They had to submit their work online by Thursday, Oct. 25.

Under teacher Ms. Hiroko Nomachi’s guidance, Makena Cioni, Athena Koon, Olivia Mariano, Mana Nakano, Breanna Padilla and Fatima Reyes organized the week-long event dubbed Venice Votes. Last week during lunch, they helped students fill out pre-registration forms at the front of the school. They pre-registered more than 30 students in that short period.

However, the girls reported having some difficulty with getting their peers to vote.

“They didn’t want to participate. Someone told us, ‘Why can’t someone else do it?’ That’s what bothers me,” commented Cioni.

Although Venice High School has been a facilitator for voting during presidential elections and midterms, there had not been a student-led campaign for students meant to raise active youth participation in politics.

“I think there was more interest in the high school ASB elections rather than the larger political scene. I don’t think there was much strife because the 80s were pretty calm. The economy was stable. America was in a good place,” recounted Nomachi. “I’m very impressed by how the young people have such a passion and drive to stand up for what they believe in because I don’t think that’s anything that I remember doing in high school myself.”

Julissa Ventureno
Senior Madison Kim fills out a voter registration form.

In the midst of a divisive political climate, including the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, many students have chosen to get politically active.

“If you want change, you have to do it yourself,” said Mariano.

The girls also created an Instagram account which documents their efforts by posting photos of meetings and original art, using the hashtag #VeniceVotes.

By entering the contest, the girls have given Venice High School the chance to win Microsoft computers and 50 tickets to meet Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C.

To check out the team’s work, visit the Instagram account @venicevotes.