Maya Nelson is a rising senior at Boston Latin school who has lived in Roslindale with her family her whole life. She has attended various public schools and camps throughout Boston and Massachusetts that have allowed her to meet a number of interesting people. This list includes the Haley Pilot School, Bates Elementary School, the Boston Nature Center camp, and Camp Howe where she works as a counselor. Maya first noticed how much politics mattered when Trump was elected president when she was in her sixth grade year. And from that day, she took it upon herself to simply pay attention to the world. From issues with abortion access to the current crisis in Ukraine, the world is a complicated place. However, she still has hope for a brighter future.
Maya has been involved in advocating for her beliefs for the past few years, and it has given her some semblance of power in an otherwise hopeless world. For example, Maya has learned about the power of political campaigning: door knocking, phone banking, text banking, and meeting with other young activists. Her favorite part is having face to face interactions- listening to how an issue affects someone, understanding their perspective, then working to relate the cause to what matters to them.
Maya is currently co-president of the BLS Youth Climate Action Network, where she has been involved for 4 years. YouthCAN, along with the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition, has a number of projects around the community. Notably, she has worked on a sustainable community room within BLS, advocated against biomass plants in communities impacted by air pollution, and led annual educational summits for youth from around the state.
Maya is also captain of the BLS Congressional Debate team, a competition based activity where students draft their own bills and engage in formal legislative debate. Over the past 5 years, she has discussed hundreds of topics ranging from voter suppression to gun sales in Saudi Arabia to clean energy. Although she is only a fictitious public official, debate has taught her a number of valuable life skills: listening to and considering all perspectives on any given issue, researching to formulate her own opinion, and using her voice to persuade others.
Everyone wants to do something good with their lives, something that helps people or improves their community. For the past few years of her life, Maya has known that for her, that was through politics. The world of political activism often feels fairly exclusive: you have to have connections and money to rise up and make any real difference, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Through this fellowship, Maya hopes to learn about how a team functions and stays on task, how she can aid in a greater cause, and how she can find an issue that feels feasible and address it.