The reverberations of the 2016 election are still being felt all over America. And while the actions of the current administration continue to impact millions of Americans each day, the effects are perhaps most palpable within the country’s school systems.
In a Southern Poverty Law Center survey of over 10,000 teachers and administrators conducted shortly after the election, 90% of teachers described an overall negative impact on their students in the wake of Donald Trump’s win, while 80% reported increased anxiety among marginalized students, including Muslim, LGBTQ, black and Latino individuals.
To combat this, certain groups want to shine a light on these untold student stories to give a bigger platform to marginalized groups in the face of increased bullying. Shine Global, a nonprofit media company that aims to give a voice to underrepresented children through documentary filmmaking, recently created the new miniseries The Election Effect. The series will tell the stories of five students — soon-to-be-eligible voters — through the lenses of five award-winning documentarians.
Even with the odds stacked against them, these teens manage to make their voices heard through community organizing. Episode one focuses on Hebh, a high school student who responded to Trump’s proposed travel ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries by organizing a massive walkout that attracted more than 1,000 of her fellow New Yorkers.
In another episode, we meet Noah and Brandon, key members of their North Carolina school’s Gay-Straight Alliance who consider their work even more important under the current administration’s anti-LGBTQ leanings, including Trump’s attempted reinstatement of a ban on transgender people in the military.
Each episode of The Election Effect will show a different side of a changing American landscape. “It’s our turn to recognize and support America’s youngest activists,” Susan MacLaury, Emmy-winning producer and executive director of Shine Global, said. “After all, they’re the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of the current administration.”
Watch the first episode of The Election Effect now at Shine Global, and be sure to tune in over the next four weeks for more of these student stories.