After a year in the works, the Democratic Society Club launched this fall semester with the aim of influencing students to get involved in politics and to recognize the full extent of their democratic rights by registering to vote.
“I want students to be aware of what bills and propositions are being introduced at both the state and the federal levels,” Democratic Society Club President Andrea Webb said.
The club targets Middle College High School as well as Contra Costa College students and consists of roughly 20 members.
The club anticipates more participants will join. Three meetings were scheduled this semester. The next one is slated to take place on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in AA-205.
Democratic Society Club Inter-Club Council Representative Kwame Arhin said the club is formatted in a Socratic seminar style to discuss current political affairs.
A Socratic seminar is a formal discussion where the moderator asks questions and students respond to the question posed while also integrating the ideas of fellow students into their responses.
“It gives a strong sense of inclusiveness as everyone can see each other and no one is shut out,” Arhin said. “Everybody’s voice is heard and that is what democracy is all about.”
“That is what a true democrat stands for,” Kachi Onyeador, who serves as administrative assistant to the club, said.
Onyeador said the organization is not only for democrats but also for independents and those with liberal ideals in general. People are provided a safe space to have discussions about the impact of politics in America and the world.
“We also come up with different ways to educate ourselves and the people around us,” Onyeador said.
“From helping people register to vote to putting up posters with fun facts about politics, we definitely want to influence others about how they should start seeing politics as something that shouldn’t be thought of as boring.”
Arhin said change requires an agent and wants students to know that they are that change agent.
“It breaks my heart to know that some students don’t vote because they don’t see the significance behind it,” he said. “I want students to eventually learn the political system. Through the Democratic Society Club, we try to do this by having voting drives.”
Onyeador said her role is not only keeping everyone connected to the club in terms of logistics but also scoping out news.
“I make sure that I find news, in the political world, occurring anywhere to share with all of the members of the club,” Onyeador said.
“I ensure they are informed of what’s happening around them so that they can be prepared for active discussions.”
She said community elections have the power to directly change things locally, so they should be regarded as a big deal.
“I feel that the Democratic Party is the one that doesn’t want anyone to be left behind or tossed to the side while only a few people rise to the top,” Onyeador said.
“I want to stand by a party that will help support others — a party that will encourage people to lift themselves up and fight for social change and the betterment for all types of people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality.”
“When I think about democracy in this country it provides order in government. But we the people have a say on how it should be run,” Middle College High School student Britney Finley said.
Arhin said the club is a powerful organization that any student, regardless of their political view, should attend — even if it is only for one meeting.
“Ironically there is no strong bias in the room which enables students to truly say what is on their minds,” Arhin said.
Webb said she hopes all eligible students on campus will be registered to vote by the deadline (Oct. 24) and vote in the General Election.