Safiya Alsamarrai was the recipient of the 2018 MA Student Changemaker Award. Safiya was a student at Lowell High School and a student in the class that received the Overall Civics Day Award. She gave the following speech at the Spring 2018 Massachusetts Civics Day. Safiya was an inspiring leader in her class, convincing her peers to take on two related goals instead of compromising on one.
Her class focused on Gun Violence in their community finding the ack of gun holder prevention for individuals that indicate dangerous behavior to be a root cause. The class advocated to continue the Lowell Gun Buyback Program in Lowell and petition our representatives to pass the "Red Flag Bill" (H.3610)
As an immigrant and a refugee from Iraq, I know what means to have to be quiet and not speak up. I have seen what has happened to my country because not enough people have spoken up, and I have seen that even when people do speak up, the government doesn’t listen. But here in the U.S., it is different. When I have an idea or care deeply about an issue, I can speak up. And when I speak up there are people here who will listen to me and my friends. Thank you so much for this award and honor and for this opportunity to learn to become a changemaker. We - students in the room - have the opportunity and responsibility to act - to speak up about the issues that affect our communities, to raise our voice, to become leaders. We can create the change we want to see. We are the future. We as students have to work together to fix the issues we care about. We have many different ideas and we have a lot to learn from each other. All our voices make our work stronger. I personally have learned so much from working with Generation Citizen and from working with my classmates. I am only a student, but if I see an issue that needs fixing, I can work on it, indeed it is my responsibility to help fix it.