Next Generation Of Voters Being Heard At Women's March

By Scott Bourque
Published: Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 3:37pm
Updated: Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 3:40pm

Maya Mitchell and her mother, Daeyna
Scott Bourque / KJZZ
Twelve-year-old Maya Mitchell (right) and her mother, Daeyna, at the October Women's March at the state Capitol on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020.

Twelve-year-old Maya Mitchell wanted to make one thing clear: she plans to vote when she turns 18.

Same with 8-year-old Carter Simmons, who was hand-writing his own protest sign, which said "Don't vote for President Dump."

8-year-old Carter Simmons
Scott Bourque/KJZZ
Eight-year-old Carter Simmons writes his protest sign at the October Women's March at the Arizona state Capitol on Oct. 17, 2020.

Both Maya and Carter were among dozens of children who came to the October Women's March at the state Capitol on Saturday. While most of the children at the march were too young to vote in November's election, many of them will be able to vote in upcoming elections. Carter will have to wait until the 2030 midterms; Maya will have to wait until 2026.

Since the 2016 elections, more than 15 million teens have turned 18 and are now eligible to vote. This year alone, 4 million people born between 2001 and 2002 can now vote. Demographers predict another 15 million will become eligible ahead of the 2024 presidential election. 

"Anyone at any age can make a difference," Maya said, carrying a handwritten sign that said "Watch out — I can vote in six years."

Maya's mom, Daeyna Mitchell, explained her history of activism, and how she wanted to pass that on to her daughter.

Demonstrators at the October Women
Scott Bourque/KJZZ
Demonstrators at the October Women's March at the Arizona state Capitol on Oct. 17, 2020.

"I've always been active in the political process," Mitchell said. "I think this year is vitally important to make our voices heard. We decided it was time to come stand with fellow, like-minded people and make our voices heard."

Carter came to the rally with his older brother and his mother, Lacey Wensing. Wensing explained that she wanted her kids to learn decency — a quality she says current leadership lacks.

“They’ve gotta learn while they’re young that we can’t let this kind of behavior continue," Wensing said. "Part of a democracy is coming out and being heard and having that support in the numbers. Just with everything going on, we wanted to come out and show our support.”

The intricacies of national electoral politics might be a lot for younger children to understand.

But both Carter and Maya agreed on one thing: they wanted to encourage people to vote to remove the current administration.

"Just to make people possibly change their minds about who they vote for," Maya said.

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Demonstrators at the October Women's March at the Arizona state Capitol on Oct. 17, 2020.
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Demonstrators dressed as characters from "The Handmaids Tale" at the October Women's March at the Arizona state Capitol on Oct. 17, 2020.
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Demonstrators at the October Women's March at the Arizona state Capitol on Oct. 17, 2020.
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