What Is At Stake In This Election? Senn High School Students Speak Out


Despite being too young to vote, many high school students are fired up about the election and have strong opinions and powerful “hot takes” on what’s happening today and in the coming weeks.

Senn is an incredibly diverse school, with a population representing countries from around the world.

Please read below to see how the youth are processing this election, and celebrate their participation in our democracy!

Afifa Ansari (Junior)

This election is important to me and my family because we want a president that actually keeps his citizens safe. We want a president who won’t discriminate against a certain races or religions. More specifically for me, I want a president that is equal and fair to everyone.

I was born a citizen, but at times when I walk the streets outside, I feel as though the stares of the people around me pierce through me and make me feel like an outsider. Sometimes when I go outside I get called names and get told to “go back to your country,” the words that President Trump had said to many. I want a president that respects everyone and keeps everyone safe.

This election will decide that for me because we have Joe Biden and Trump racing for the spot of the president. I would personally want Joe Biden to win because he has a plan in reducing racial discrimination and building America. He also respects every part of the world and has no racist comments about them. I believe a person who is respectful, honest, and makes everyone feel comfortable and safe should be our president. I believe Joe Biden should be our president.

Prince Bhagat (Sophomore) 

During this election cycle, I’ve felt like many of my rights promised in the Declaration of Independence have been taken away. “All men are created equal,” feels like a lie in modern society. If all men are equal they should all be charged equally for a crime.

With the election being today, there will be chaos no matter who wins. If Trump wins, we will lose many rights. If Biden wins the white supremacists and Trump supporters will come after the people of color.

The Affordable Care Act is at stake here. One day I could develop a long-term disease, and I wouldn’t be able to get treatment for it. The president himself has expressed that he wants to get rid of Obamacare. If the Affordable Care Act was repealed, 1.2 million Americans would lose their jobs. That scares me because my parents could lose their jobs, and without a job there isn’t money. Why are the rich benefiting more?

Let’s say Trump does win. He only cares about “the economy” and claims he is the best president even though he handled this pandemic in the most mediocre way possible. He was too busy committing tax fraud to care about the people. Since he is trying to repair the damage of the economy, that he himself created, he will refuse to close down stores or restaurants. He is going to make people go to work so the economy won’t drop.

My mom works at a store and there are many people there who don’t wear masks and she could even catch the virus. She comes home and spreads it to the rest of us. Then we would all get sick and end up in the hospital. But wait, the Affordable Care Act was repealed, so what is left to do? Die.

As we already know our president had been only paying $750 for taxes. He denies it and claims he has paid early. Joe Biden believes that the rich people should pay higher taxes since they have more money. Trump doesn’t like this because he would end up being taxed more. My parents pay taxes, a lot actually. It isn’t fair because rich people pay so little money for taxes. If the taxes were to rise for my parents we would have no money left. It is like the rich are eating the poor. We should all be equal. I can’t stress this enough, it’s even stated in the Constitution.

Jo’Nay Burnett (Sophomore)

My dad’s side of my family has a lot at stake. They are worried about healthcare and how the world is right now. The reason why they are worried about healthcare is because if Trump wins the election, everyone knows he is going to mess something up or do something that’s not right. But they are worried that they might run out of healthcare and won’t be able to get it anymore. We are black and it is hard for some families to get those types of things because of the world we live in. They want to vote, but haven’t. Most of the people don’t like Biden. They are only voting for him because everyone wants Trump out the office. But my family is hoping that Biden wins the election so we don’t have to have worries about certain things. Lastly, my family is worried about the human rights that come along with this topic, like will this world ever be anymore fair?

Colin Clark (Junior)

This election is important for my family because we want COVID-19 to end. My mom is a teacher who does remote learning from home. COVID has an impact on the world because there are not a lot of things to do. A lot of good restaurants and businesses are shutting down. Many people are struggling during this pandemic.

As a minority I don’t like seeing police brutality. Not a lot of minorities get treated fairly. We should not be divided as a country. We should come together.

Obama has been building health care for many years. President Trump is trying to take health care away from the American people. Donald Trump thinks that people should have private health care. There are so many people who need health care because a lot of people have different sicknesses and illnesses. They cannot get any medical treatment because it is too expensive for them. They have to live with the disease or illness without help. This election is also important because we need everyone to pay their fair share on taxes. They want middle class and lower class people to pay more taxes than the rich. We need change. Everybody’s vote matters.

Adin Custovic (Sophomore) 

The main thing me and my family are scared about is the reaction of the people if the election goes a certain way. We all know what’s going to happen if Trump wins re-election and that’s a really scary thought. You think as Americans we would all be one country. The country built off immigration and dreams and where people can come and have their kids grow up with a future. That idea of America is changing really fast. In the past few years America has become more divided on a lot of areas, People are now red or blue, pro this pro that. We do not settle on one idea anymore, which is making people get more divided.

Me and my mom have it pretty well off compared to other people, but we are still scared for what’s going to happen within the next week and maybe even 4 years. I truly think at this point America needs some crazy reform because we cannot just use a system that has not really changed since the 1800s. When the results are shown I truly think it’s going to be eye opening for all of us. Me and my family are just worried if people get out and riot like how they did back in June and July. I even think it’s going to be way way worse. I think we should all just look forward to moving ahead as a whole not as a red country or a blue one but as a united country. 

Fey (Sophomore)

My family is black, and we all know how black people are getting killed for the color of their skin, and nothing is being done by the present government to stop it. If republicans win, I feel like my life and family members’ lives are in danger. I won’t able to walk down the street without thinking that i might not come back home. I might get shot because someone who is meant to protect me thinks I’m a threat.

Secondly, I really feel Fair Tax is fair because I don’t see a reason why I have to pay the same amount of tax as a billionaire. The fair tax will help with things like college fees and bills for an average family like mine.

I’m not just black, I’m a lady. I don’t just have to face racial injustices but gender inequality. I’ve heard someone say that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they are the “inferior” gender and they should be put in their “place”. Honestly, I don’t really blame the person because what do you expect when the president even encourages abuse?

My reproductive rights are at stake. I don’t understand why the government has to decide what I do with my own body. It’s my body, my choice. What happened to freedom from torture because this seems more like torture than just a law to me.

Alexis Fillinger (Sophomore)

At stake for my family during this election is the Affordable Care Act. My grandma is on that healthcare plan and if Trump is still in office, it could be taken away. It’s extremely frustrating to be too young to vote when this election will determine the future of our country and so many American citizens. I’ve seen the struggles my family has gone through during this pandemic, dealing with a lot more than I could ever handle. It’s really sad to see someone you love have to compromise and only be able to buy one of their medications instead of the two that they need.

I have strongly urged adults in my life to go vote and make the right choice. I really hope that Joe Biden wins this election, so that I don’t have to worry about my family members and their healthcare plans being taken away, and so that other Americans don’t have to have the same worries as me.

Hadeel Housein (Sophomore)

This year’s election is very stressful for many families, causing people all across America to fear for their safety. Many people in America have expressed their concerns about the election all over the internet, causing some trending hashtags and campaigns, making an insane amount of teenagers find interest in this year’s politics.

I often think about how this election will change my own family, and if it may put things at stake. It’s honestly a hard question to answer because almost everything that happened this year has been so unpredictable.

This election will make a big impact on my family because my family comes from two different complex cultures and we’re all people of color. My mom is African American and my father is Middle Eastern, so this election makes us all feel very nervous. Especially considering the fact that one of the candidates who is our current president, has shown recurring acts of racism towards both black people and Middle Easterners.

Personally, this election will change how we view the next 4 years. It’ll change what we think is going to happen in the next 4 years.

William Molina (Sophomore) 

Having Mexican parents, the election impacts them by not knowing if they are safe to be going out and being asked random questions and just being discriminated against for how they talk and look. At 15, I can’t vote, but I can influence others that can vote to go vote and do there research. But I do have things at stake for myself like not being able to get health insurance and keep it. More things that are at stake is more to my friends that may lose their basic right to have same sex marriage. Honestly everyone’s health would be at stake because of the Coronavirus. Who the people vote for this election will impact our health and how they the leaders take care of the situation further on. Do us all a favor and vote!

Lloyd Renoso (Sophomore)

This election is important to my family, me, and many people because choosing for the right person for the right job will have an impact for a better community for all of us. We all want where we can understand each other and work things out especially in a pandemic.

The past days, past weeks, and past months were full of chaos and misunderstandings between people. Black Lives Matter, police protests, a public afraid of having no rights, racism, and COVID. This year we lost many people and our current president isn’t really the best choice of fixing it. I know his bad background of racism and inappropriate actions. I don’t want to experience being afraid of cops, the racism that can come to my family, and the rights taken away based on my race. A racist president like that sits high on society. My mom gets paranoid and scared that things like that could happen to us. My dad told us to close curtains, lock doors, check our surroundings when walking because we don’t feel safe with the surroundings, especially to the past scary events occurred in many states.

This year’s vote really determines our future in the country, and how we people want to live.

Amna Sivac (Sophomore)

As a young woman, a member of a Muslim refugee family, and an LGBTQIA+ ally, a lot is at potential stake for my family and I throughout the upcoming election.

Currently, one of my biggest fears is losing my reproductive rights as a woman. A majority of my family consists of women, and the thought of losing our basic rights of reproductive health is terrifying. Not only for me, but for a lot of the strong young women I personally know as well. As a young woman in current society, we witness, experience, and/or hear about heart-wrenching events that can play out in our day to day lives that we heavily fear for. Our rights to having an abortion, planned parenthood, basic birth control and mental health assistances are slowly becoming more and more distant if the Republican party overtakes office again.

LGBTQIA+ rights are slowly planning to get stripped away, not long after their marriage equality were finally passed. As an ally or a member, this thought can cause mind-boggling anxiety, and the heartaches of not being able to live through with the love we have for others that don’t consist of “traditional” values. Conservative views are overpowering our democracy, which leaves basic human rights to be portrayed as something silly, only if you aren’t a cisgendered straight white male.

Proudly coming from a Muslim family that consists of refugees and originally non-English speaking members, I fear for the potential discrimination my family will receive if Trump is re-elected. Trump has a basic history of partaking in islamophobia and deportation of those who arrive to this country for a better life. Although my parents are legal, I still fear for those close to me who experience similar thoughts and struggle legally and financially.

I heavily encourage those who can vote to vote blue, and to register to vote if you aren’t. Basic human rights are on the line here, and if you can’t see that, you’re the problem.

Afreen Syeda (Junior)

During this election what is important to me and my family is having a president that cares for everyone and respects all the cultures and races. We want a president that keeps everyone safe and makes them feel welcome and comfortable. I am an immigrant, and I recently became a citizen. Personally, I do not feel safe in the streets because I get called names and people stare at me weirdly.

I want Joe Biden to win this election because he is better than Trump because he has plans for the future. He wants to reduce racial discrimination, and his plan is to create millions of good-paying jobs and to build back an economy that works for everyone. Trump, on the other hand, hates Muslim people, he discriminates against women and Mexicans, and racially divides everyone. He makes stupid comments, and he can’t answer a simple question without being off-topic and lying. He Calls COVID-19 ̈the Chinese Virus because it comes from China ̈. Makes no sense! Imagine being a president and saying this type of thing. You are making your country look bad. Literally, you are a president. We don’t need this type of president to represent our country. Vote for Joe Biden!

Nicole Tran (Sophomore)

For this upcoming election, our family’s safety is at stake because we don’t want violence as a result of it. It’s really sad and horrifying to see people getting beaten up for no reason.

High taxes is one of the major problems we face. Chicago has the highest sales tax in this whole country, making everything difficult for all the adults because they have to work much harder. 

Adults would refuse to go to the hospital or go see a doctor because they can’t afford health care.

My mom has to take care of my grandparents, and they’re really old and both need healthcare. My mom is the only member of this house working, and this puts a lot of stress on her. She has to pay bills and taxes to keep this whole house and family alive.

My thoughts on this election is that whoever is becoming president the next four years, please help America become great again. Please think about our future and how this country can change. The president can make a change by making everyone wear masks and following the rules. This can help get rid of COVID and help save lives. Your vote counts; please vote if you can.

Essence Williams (Junior) 

There is a lot at stake for the whole country this election, but especially the people of color. Trump is openly racist, he is a sexist and only cares about himself. He has about 26 sexual misconduct charges and has yet to see consequences for any of them. In the debate, he did not tell white supremacy groups to stand down when asked. Trumps said at a speech, “your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth are unemployed—- what the hell do you have you to lose?” when referring to African Americans. When Trump spoke on Mexicans he called them “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.” Last year, Trump deported millions of Mexicans and tore hundreds of thousands of families apart. All because he feels they don’t belong in our country and “take our jobs.”

Trump does what he wants and does not care about the consequences. He needs to be taken out of office ASAP. He has done so many horrible things in his short four years he has been in office. I can’t even imagine what he would do if he had another four years to do what he wants. Joe Biden is not the best candidate, but we are desperate. Anyone is better than Trump.

Moussa Yarori (Sophomore) 

Without a doubt, this election is more crucial than any election we’ve ever had. Our approach to climate change, our move for social justice, criminal justice reform, COVID-19, reproductive rights, freedom of and from religion, insurance security, our approach to lowering debt, making the legal immigration process easier, progressiveness, and true democracy are all at stake this election.

Quite frankly, my dad and I are just fearful. We are fearful that under Trump’s administration, hate crimes and racially/religiously motivated crimes will continue to be ignored and mishandled. We are fearful that our health insurance and security will be threatened. We are fearful that the dangerous and detrimental battle between the right and the left will continue to divide our country. We are fearful that the call to protect and improve our environment will be ignored and disregarded. We are fearful of the  millionaires and multi-million dollar corporations at the expense of the working class. We are fearful of more lies, deceit, corrupt politicians, non-transparency, a profit-over-people system.

Overall, I’m overwhelmingly nervous to watch our country make the drastic change it will if Trump wins. I worry that I may watch the world around me change entirely and become unrecognizable when compared to the original values this country and our democracy are suppose to uphold.

In my wildest dreams, I’d like to head for political science/politics. But, how can I aspire to work under broken systems and bastardized politicians? I fear that the politicians he appoints and gives power to won’t be pure or honest. I fear that the politicians to come won’t be ones I can think highly of. Under Trump’s administration, I fear that we may not have any amazing congress(wo)men or politicians to appreciate and look up to.

Under Trump’s America, I fear that I will have no drive or incentive to get into politics.

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