Although her parents were consistent voters, Olivia Oestreicher wasn’t interested in politics until her junior year of high school, when she found herself stuck at home in Shirley, Massachusetts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She watched the massive protests erupt in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the challenges of the pandemic and the dramatic 2020 presidential race.
“All of these things happening in 2020 made me have an interest in politics and an interest in public service,” says Oestreicher, who, going into her sophomore year, is now a coordinator for the Northeastern Votes Coalition.
“Voting rights to me was the most all-encompassing way to directly impact all of the other movements that I cared about,” she says. “If you do not have a functioning democracy, how do you expect all of your other issues that you care about to get solved?”