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Politifest 2020: Citizen Scholars

By Jonathan Shulman, director of LJCDS Center for Excellence in Citizenship & Hannah Jacobs, marketing and communications intern
Upper School students hosted a community panel during Voice of San Diego's virtual Politifest.
On Saturday, October 3, six LJCDS Upper School students participated as panelists in “Citizen Scholars: Students and Activism,” a community conversation at Politifest 2020: Pick Your Future. 

Launched in 2011, Politifest is an annual public affairs summit hosted by the Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit investigative news organization. Because it is an election year, this year’s Politifest featured discussions of ballot measures, a San Diego mayoral forum, a conversation about police reform with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and multiple debates for city council, county supervisor and United States Congressional candidates.

The student’s panel, hosted by the Voice of San Diego editor-in-chief Scott Lewis, included Elinor Amir–Lobel ’22 with Art4Equality; Lucy Jaffe ’22 with When We All Vote, My School Votes; Tavisha Khanna ’22 and Yasmina Torres ’22 with The School of Now; Cassidy Ratner ’21 with Casa de Amistad; and Carson Walker ’23 with Black Lives Matter. Jonathan Shulman, director of LJCDS Center for Excellence in Citizenship, moderated the discussion. 

The students discussed what civic engagement means to them, how they balance a commitment to social justice with their school work and social lives, which actions they are taking to influence the political system before they’re old enough to vote, and answered questions from the audience.

LJCDS was the only school accepted after students submitted a proposal to Voice of San Diego to host a community conversation during Politifest. They were selected based on not only their plans for future work but also what they’ve accomplished with social justice through their perseverance during the pandemic. 

In addition, a dozen LJCDS Upper School students, including some of the panelists, proved essential as volunteers for Politifest 2020 by providing technical help and troubleshooting assistance for this all-online conference.  

Watch the Citizen Scholars — Students and Activism session.

Cassidy Ratner: Read why Politifest was a moving experience for Cassidy.

Carson Walker: Read how Carson’s own experience shaped his activism.