Are you listening?
Last week – Seventeen-year-old peace powerhouse Ava Lowery, registered to vote in what will be her first presidential election. Ava has been galvanizing America’s youth for years and the 2008 election just may show how many of our country’s first time voters have been listening. With Ava’s eye and attention on presidential candidates John Edwards and Barak Obama you can be sure her followers are watching as well.
We came to know Ava years ago by her hard hitting, inspiring, and often excruciatingly graphic anti-war videos posted on youtube and other websites across the Internet. Ava’s videos on youtube alone receive many thousands of views from people of all parties and ages and have garnered the attention of media outlets like Mother Jones, Rolling Stone Magazine and CNN.
I asked Ava what she intends her videos to accomplish and who are they targeted at. Her response was simple and to the point,
“All of my videos are directed at educating people about the war. What they do with that information is all up to them. Hopefully my videos will cause some voters to think about the Iraq war and how it will be handled by the candidates they support when voting this year.”
Peace Takes Courage – Ava’s main web presence, received 1.45 million hits last month alone while her newly launched Ava’s Army received more than 80,000 hits in its first month. With numbers like these one has to wonder if this young activist realizes the power she potentially wields on a whole new generation of America’s voters.
CA. Congressional Candidate and Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan – who has known Ava for some time, shared her thoughts with me regarding Ava entering the electorate for the first time,
“If young people followed Ava’s lead in trying to make the world a better place, and if we have young leaders like her, I feel our world will be in great hands. Voting is only a small part of our part in democracy, but our votes have to be informed and intelligent, I am sure Ava will be an active participant in our democracy.”
A Texas father – Steve Mauk, who has a daughter Ava’s age added,
“This election will be the first for my youngest daughter as well and she is eager to understand the platforms of the different candidates instead of just casting a party vote. It is great to see young people like her and Ava caring about our country and its future”.
I asked Ava how her documentary was coming along. She has been immersing herself and her life savings into a one on one approach with Veterans of the Iraq war preserving their thoughts upon returning from Iraq, and comparing those to their thoughts pre-deployment.
I had heard that – although not quite on the shelf, there was some delay in its completion due to dwindling funds. Ava agreed funds were definitely an issue and that she was at a bit of an impasse and needed help,
“Most of the filming for the documentary has been completed but we still have Veterans of the war that would like to be interviewed and to be a part of this film. We don’t have the funds at this time though to conduct those interviews so we are trying to find a way to get the funds needed to finish filming.”
“I believe this documentary will be an important piece that people should see”.
And when I asked why she felt it was important, her response once again hit home on how mature this young lady really is,
“Why? Because it is Veterans of the Iraq war talking about the war. No political pundits and no main stream media mouth pieces. Just people who have witnessed the war first hand and are speaking from their own experiences. I think most Americans want to support our troops. What better way to support them than to hear what they have to say?”
My final question was about what her own thoughts were as we begin the primaries and lead into the 2008 election and what being able to legally vote means to her. I couldn’t help but smile at her response,
“I’m excited to be able to vote for the first time because for a long time now I’ve been involved in politics without being able to vote. Now I think I can call myself a full fledged political junkie and activist.”
Like she wasn’t already working for democracy full time?
She went on to add,
“If more young people voted, I believe there would be major change in this country. I hope that I will be in a large crowd of first time voters this year.”
Just in the crowd? Somehow this writer thinks it will be Ava Lowery leading the crowd, straight to the polls this November.
Jan. 17, 2008 interview