March 23, 2015

The Country is Watching Us

By Andrew Brennen

People have gathered here from all across the state so we can show the members of the General Assembly we know student voice matters, that we stand with students and that we want House Bill 236 to be passed. On behalf of the Student Voice Team, I thank you for missing class and work and for traveling from across this Commonwealth to be here with us for this very important issue. We are also thankful to have some important guests here with us today.

For those of you that don’t know, my name is Andrew Brennen. I am a first-year at UNC Chapel Hill and travelled to Kentucky last night in order to stand here with Students. I am missing class to be here because I believe this cause is an important one, but not everyone has that option. Not everyone can be here witnessing the beautiful faces of Kentucky’s youth make history. So instead, they take to social media. Over the past two weeks and likely for many to come, students, parents, teachers, administrators and lawmakers tweeted using the hashtag Stand With Students to tell why they believe student voice is important. The hashtag and other tweets about HB236 have been seen over half a million times.

We asked people to tell us why they stand with students. Here is some of what they said.

  • Brianna Daniel said I Stand with Students because too many times are our voices restricted by the judgmental minds of those who believe we are ignorant

  • Clare Doyle said I Stand with Students because I refuse to overlook the passion, talent, and voice of my peers and my generation. We will be heard.

  • Peyton Kidwell said I Stand with Students because it's sad that we had to feel we were standing alone in the first place.

  • Emily Chavez said I Stand with Students because there is no age minimum for being a change maker. Our voice is as important as everyone else’s.

  • Laney Taylor said I Stand with Students because I know that being the change we wish to see doesn't start by being idle. It starts by standing strong.

  • Talha Muhammad said I Stand with Students because we forget how much can be done, and how much that's left to do. So if not us, who? And If not now, when?

These tweets and many others tell the stories of thousands of Kentucky youth who take this issue very seriously. They send a loud and resolute message to the Kentucky Senate. The country is watching us. Don’t Embarrass us. Stand with Students and Pass HB 236

These remarks were deliverd at the Stand With Students Rally organized by the Student Voice Team on the steps of the capitol in Frankfort on March 23, 2015. The Rally called for the passage of House Bill 236, which would add student voting members to superintendent screening committees.

Andrew Brennen

Andrew Brennen

Andrew is a Senior Advisor and co-founder of KSVT. He is a former member and was previously the Student Director. Andrew graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 2014 and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2019. He is a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.