Heidelberg’s MAC program is made up of graduate students studying to be clinical mental health counselors and school counselors. A foundational component of being a professional counselor is learning to advocate for clients, within communities, systems, and in the legislation. Every year faculty and students from the MAC program head to the state capitol for legislative advocacy day where they meet with their representative to discuss current bills impacting clients, client care, and the profession.
As the 2020 Election neared, MAC students doing their clinical field rotations and those learning about multicultural counseling and advocacy were asked to share their quintessential “I Voted” stickers -- and reasons why voting is so important to them.
Here are some of the students’ responses:
“I voted because it is my responsibility to have a voice for change. For my future clients, loved ones, and myself.” - Lileigh Bower
“Because I can't remain silent…” - Craig Haines
“I vote because black lives matter. I vote for the clients in both community mental health and private practice. I vote for those who can't receive services. I vote for my loved ones. I vote for my friends and LGBTQ+ family. I vote to protect our families, our marriages, and our rights as human beings. I vote for those still unable to get married or have limits on their bank accounts because of disability. I vote for my family in Puerto Rico. I vote for those who died at our borders seeking asylum. I vote because it is my right and my duty. I vote for the betterment of our country.” - Mariah Payne
“Until all people have equal rights without living in constant fear of losing them, we have to keep voting. We are not promised rights, and those in power and with privilege threaten our rights every day. That's why it is so important to vote!” - Amber Finnegan
“Voting matters to me because I feel it is necessary as a young adult. It is a way for me to support those who will work on policies and make changes in the future that are important to me. The future depends on the choices we make now surrounding issues that affect the wellbeing and rights of so many citizens.” - Sarah Tiell
“I voted for so many reasons. I vote because I have never been so concerned for our country. I vote because I want to have a say even if it may be statistically small. I vote because I take peace in knowing what I stand for and voting accordingly. I vote with optimism that things may get a little better. I vote because I know what I look for in a leader and in a political party. I vote for my friends and the friends I haven’t met yet for their safety. I vote because it is a great privilege that I am fortunate to have. I vote because I could not respect myself if I didn’t. I vote for a million reasons and I pray my vote makes a difference. ”- Kaitlin Bilsing
“FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN! Don't assume that others will be your voice for you. Speak for yourself and get to the polls!!!” - Annette Roberts
“I voted because I am hungry for change … I voted because it is my right. I voted because even when the 19th amendment was passed for women to vote, women who look like me still did not have that right. It is important for me to exercise the right my ancestors died fighting for.” - Chantel Ely
“We all talk about advocating and being the change. I vote so I can take action on this and make our world a little bit better. I can not change the world but I can help be the change by helping one person at a time.”- Jessica Rohrbach
These future counselors are agents of change and advocates in action.