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Finding Their Voices


Published July 31, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

Mira at the NYC - Women’s March, - January 2017 - ALISON NOVAK
  • Alison Novak
  • Mira at the NYC Women’s March, January 2017

On January 20, 2017, the day of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, I flew to New York City with my then-9-year-old daughter, Mira. We traveled there so that we could participate in the following day's Women's March, in which people of all ages gathered peacefully around the world to show support and solidarity for women's rights and human rights.

The act of walking through the streets of Manhattan alongside thousands of others, chanting and carrying hand-painted signs, felt both cathartic and empowering. And having my daughter by my side, taking in the sights and sounds of so many strong women and girls standing up for what they believed in, felt equally important. In the year and a half since, I've watched as Mira has embraced the title of feminist, taken an interest in reading books like Rad American Women A-Z and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, started thinking critically about what she hears in the news, and become involved with efforts to help others through local organizations like Spectrum Youth & Family Services and COTS.

She's part of a generation that's become known for its social conscience and political activism, embodied most palpably by the teenagers of Parkland, Fla., who have passionately advocated for gun control since tragedy struck their school.

In this month's issue, we feature a 14-year-old from Bristol who has embraced politics in a major way — by becoming the youngest candidate for governor in our state's history. On August 14, Ethan Sonneborn will be one of the choices on the ballot in the Vermont Democratic Party's gubernatorial primary. Learn more about the inspiring teen, and why he decided to throw his hat in the ring, in "Rising Freshman."

In "Celebrating Civics," you'll find submissions from future voters who have finished our Good Citizen Challenge, a summer civics project we created that's open to all Vermont K-12 students. We've already received 13 completed scorecards and are looking forward to seeing more this month. The deadline to submit entries is October 9, so there's still time to get started. Find the scorecard in the center of this issue, or download one from

Finally, we know that Vermont families will be reveling in these last weeks of summer before school starts back up again. Check out our monthly calendar. It's packed with festivals, fairs, nature programs, fun runs and live music performances to help you make the most of this short and sweet season.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.