Samia Smith, 16, of Little Rock, Arkansas, a junior at Little Rock Central High School, is the co-leader of school organization committed to educating others about gun violence. When Samia’s 14-year-old cousin was shot in the shoulder while sitting on her porch, “this served as a wakeup call that anyone, no matter their age, can be affected by gun violence,” said Samia. After that, “I felt it was my obligation to do all that I could to encourage voting.”
Working with other students in a newly-formed student organization at her school, Samia spent more than 10 months planning events that could encourage and advance gun-safety measures across the country. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, the group decided that one of the first events should be a daylong Super Tuesday event to provide voter information to students and teachers at Little Rock Central High. To prepare, Samia researched candidates’ positions on gun safety and where voters could go to educate themselves. “Through the Super Tuesday event, we were able to distribute in-depth voting information to over 75 students and teachers in just one day,” said Samia. Afterwards, Samia’s group sent postcards encouraging eligible voters in and around their community to register to vote.