Letter to the Editor: Lessons on Democracy from Kids in Starbucks

To the editor: 

Yesterday [Sunday, April 5] after our Easter brunch was over and my uncle had gone, the kids had tired of playing both indoors and out, so we made our way to the town-center Starbucks for a change of scenery.

Grouped around a table were five teenagers studying AP biology.  My six-year-old pointed out to me that one of them had a “Yes for Belmont” sticker on her laptop. She seemed pleased that he had noticed and we began to talk. She was a junior, 17, too young to vote. I asked about her parents: they wished they could vote in favor but are not U.S. citizens; she was hoping that people like me could vote for it. It turned out that some of the other kids at the table were in the same situation. I found myself wondering if these bright, articulate, hard-working kids perhaps had benefited when they were younger from the ELL classes that the “No” campaign wants to (illegally) do away with. 

This chance encounter came as a reminder: Citizenship is a privilege that we don’t all have. We owe it to those who can’t vote – our children, other people’s children, and the immigrant population of Belmont that helps make this town what it is – to exercise our right on Tuesday. 

This is going to be a close election. If ever there were a case of “every vote counts,” this is it! If you have voted absentee already, thank you. If you haven’t, please remember to vote Tuesday, April 7. And please budget enough time. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. but there may be lines. Please don’t walk away if the line is long; you will be relinquishing a vote that those kids in Starbucks (and their parents) wish they had. 

And if you’re in the same situation as those kids’ parents, ask your friends who are citizens to vote. Democracy only works if we make it work. 

Mary Lewis

Randolph Street 

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  1. Risa Kim says

    Hello, this is Risa, also known as the girl with the sticker on her laptop! I just wanted to say I’m really thankful for this article and that all of us (students) really appreciate your help.

  2. Anne Mahon says

    This article gave me goosebumps. I was thinking I had done enough to get the yes voters to the polls, but I am re energized with the thought of those children motivating me.

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