BHS Committee Meets With VT State Senator Kesha Ram on Civic Engagement


Senator Kesha Ram. Photo: Vermont Cynic

Phoebe Spence

On April 2, the BHS Student Political Engagement Committee (SPEC), invited Vermont State Senator, Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden, to speak over Zoom.

SPEC is a student-run group with a goal of “give[ing] young people an environment to develop perspective and explore politics as they relate to local, state, and federal level,” said one of SPEC’s leaders, BHS senior Ariel Felcan. 

Veronica Lindstrom, a ninth-grade SPEC member, expressed the importance of Sen. Ram sharing her journey into politics as a female politician of color. 

I think it’s important to bridge gaps between citizens and lawmakers and also to show youth examples of what we are capable of with the right opportunities,” Lindstrom said. “[Ram] is representing people who do not often see themselves in media and politics.”

Sen. Ram served four terms in the Vermont House of Representatives from 2008 to 2016, before she was elected to the Vermont State Senate in 2020. She was the first woman of color elected to the Vermont Senate. She previously served as a political engagement specialist and worked to create civic opportunities for Vermonters.

During the meeting, Sen. Ram shared her story with SPEC members, showing her political ambition from a young age.

 “My first election was in fifth grade,” Ram said. “There were three boys running to be student council president of my elementary school in Los Angeles and I thought that it was a real tragedy that no women were running.” 

She emphasized the importance of under-represented groups getting involved in politics and breaking social norms and barriers. 

“People were like, ‘she’s very aggressive’, ‘she’s very loud’ you know, things that they call women, particularly women of color in politics,” Sen. Ram said as she explained people’s reactions to her racial, social, and environmental justice advocacy. 

Sen. Ram’s journey into politics as a young woman of color led her to encourage others to involve themselves in politics and use their voice to uplift underrepresented groups.  

“You have so much more power than you know,” Ram told the members of SPEC. “So it’s really not a question of who are you to run; it’s a question of who are you not to run.”