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In Ohio: The Stereotypes are Wrong

“I registered to vote as soon as I turned 18,” recalls Molly Rogers, a special education major at Youngstown State University, who can’t imagine having to wait until 21 to make her voice known at the ballot box.

Rogers is an active member of the Ohio Student Education Association and at 20 has already organized rallies, distributed petitions, lobbied her friends (and strangers) and testified against legislation attacking workers’ rights and public education.

“Speaking in front of senators and representatives I was very nervous, but this is about our future and is also affecting teachers now. I was proud that we were involved,” recounts Rogers, who was active in the efforts against Senate Bill 5, which targets union rights and collective bargaining.

Read Molly's speech opposing Senate Bill 5

Even though Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the measure into law, Rogers was part of a grassroots ballot initiative to repeal the bill, which included collecting close to 1.3 million signatures, more than any other campaign in Ohio history.

She believes that stereotypes about young people as unconcerned about the issues affecting the world around them are wrong; they are aware, and ready to participate, and even change the world, when they feel engaged.

“We can make a change.we can have an impact, we can make a difference. We can take baby steps, reach out to our community, town and state, and even the national level and help transform the big picture.”