By Renner Kwittken
Our generation, Gen Z, has witnessed something that many other generations have not. Most generations are slandered very early on as teenagers, and this is a trend that can be dated back for years. Currently, millennials are the scapegoat and are characterized as lazy, self-centered burdens to society. However, our generation, Gen Z, is labeled the one that will change the world, and it’s not hard to see why. We have been heralded as the generation to reverse political apathy and take action. This change is present within BHHS with the newly created Future Legislators Club. According to Zach Cogan, one of the founding leaders along with Jackson Pinsky, “Teenagers historically haven’t been that involved in politics. But for some reason, and I am thrilled this is happening- across the country teenagers are speaking out and are really taking action about gun control. It’s something that affects our lives every day and our school. It shouldn’t be a political issue, it should be a moral issue. It’s common sense that things need to change and teenagers are very aware of that. This club is going to focus on that, what we’re going to change, how we are going to do it.”
The club’s unofficial formation came about after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. One of the speakers at BHHS’ walkout following this tragic incident was Zach. After Zach’s address at the walkout, he noted, “I had people coming up to me, people I didn’t even know, teachers, a bunch of emails, people texting me saying you did a great job, and you spoke really well. It was really nice to have that. People were really supportive and very respectful out there.” After scheduling and creating the walkout, many felt that their fight for change was not over. And that is when this club was born.
The core values of the club are “education, passion, and hard work.” Specifically, the club founders want members and outsiders alike to be educated on the issues affecting us as individuals; one of the core missions of the club being to bring awareness to communities. Leaders also want their club members to be genuinely passionate about these issues, and be willing to debate them in a safe setting. However, it is not enough to be excited about a topic. Club members must also possess a lot of grit and be willing to spend hours doing hard work researching their own viewpoint as well as the opposing viewpoint.
One of the most significant obstacles and goals of the club is to overcome the stigma already associated with it. When Zach was asked about who is welcome within the club, he simply responded “anyone.” He continues to stress the importance of “respectful debate because we are all on the same side. We all want change, and we can’t figure out the best way without a debate… the whole point about having different views whether it be liberal, moderate, or independent is that we are all arguing about something, we are all discussing it with relative civility. Getting those viewpoints is essential… You don’t need to believe the same thing I believe; I would argue it’s important that you don’t.”
As of right now, there is no official structure to the very new club. However, Zach and others have a vision for what they want the club to look like in the near future. Everything will start with research and debate within the club. Then, individuals will receive support and encouragement to spread their agenda with appropriate methods. The club will then swiftly move onto another issue to maintain relevance.
For students who are interested in the club, all they need to do is contact Zach, Jackson, or Mr. Horn to learn when the next meeting date will be. Again, anyone and everyone who is willing to do the work and is passionate about a topic is welcome to join. For many current members, it’s about more than the debate. For Zach, it’s remembering a close friend who died in the Parkland shooting. Zach adds that he wants to “do something and honor him properly… I’m doing this club because I don’t want this to happen to someone else… I’m not letting him die in vain.”