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Issues That Brought Me to the Polls: Sophia Peters, Maryland

As told by Sophia Peters
Salisbury, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Sophia stands against the wall and puts her hand on her head. She wears a bright, orange sweater.

This snapshot was gathered in conjunction with the Maryland Voices initiative at Maryland Humanities, specifically to supplement the "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America" traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. This collection, made up of stories of first-time voters between the ages of 18 and 24, showcases the experiences of young people as they wrestled with the 2020 presidential election, issues around social justice, the environment, immigration, and the pandemic.

Sophia Peters (00:00): My name is Sophia Peters. I am from Salisbury, Maryland, and I attend Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

Sophia Peters (00:08): For me, my number one issue is environmentalism. I'm very concerned about climate change. I'm very concerned about the way the state of the country is going to go, especially living in an area that is about at zero feet above sea level. So as sea levels rise, my home and my city is very much endangered. So environmentalism, I think, is a big issue for youth. Especially because if we don't have a world to live in, then how are we going to be able to make good decisions about other policy issues future.

Sophia Peters (00:40): So, I definitely think that environmentalism is a driving force for youth across America. I also think that gun control is another issue. We have a generation of students who grew up with active shooter drills, and so I think that that has definitely played an important role. For my community, I'd love to say that environmentalism is also an issue here but I'm not so sure. I am pretty much half and half for that, because we live in an area that is predominantly watermen and focused on agriculture. So the idea of putting sanctions on environmentalist issues is a little bit of a touchy subject around here. But I do think that people understand the impact that global warming will have on their homes, so I think people are focused on that.

Sophia Peters (01:29): Along with racial equality. I think that in my city, we have very good leadership on the city level that has focused on trying to make the city more inclusive and focused on talking about those racial discrepancies when looking at policing. We had a Black Lives Matter street in our city that was put up, so that was great. And our city hosted a Black Lives Matter march, so I thought that both of those were wonderful signals for change, and I hope that our city leadership continues to make strides in those efforts.

Asset ID: 2021.03.16.g
Themes: Environment, climate change, sea level rise, youth, policy, gun violence, gun control, agriculture, water, global warming, race, equality, inclusive, policing, Black Lives Matter
Date recorded: February 4, 2021
Length of recording: 02:08 m
Related traveling exhibition: Voices and Votes: Democracy in America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Edward H. Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University, in partnership with Maryland Humanities
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