First published in the Summer 2017 issue of the Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter
Kripa Solanki isn’t old enough to vote, but that isn’t stopping her from making her voice heard. The 17-year-old Wellesley resident is one of the youngest interns at Massachusetts Peace Action, running a large part of the organization’s Twitter and Facebook presence while also participating with the Social & Economic Justice and Middle East working group.
“I was looking for a way to participate in changing what our country is like right now,” said Solanki, adding that she felt “a sense of powerlessness” because while she was educated on all the issues, she still has one more year until she can vote. “I think I was just a little disheartened.”
Solanki first became interested in politics while volunteering as a tour guide at the Massachusetts State House, where much of the art and architecture relates to United States history. When she began looking for a more activist-centered volunteer position, she discovered MAPA.
“I found that MAPA stands for a lot of the issues that I care about through the lens of military spending,” said Solanki. “It’s not just about peace. It’s also about how we’re voting, how we’re using our tax dollars to show what we care about.”
Outside of MAPA, Solanki enjoys working at her local library and participating in her community. She plans on taking her education further, studying abroad in Armenia for her upcoming senior year and the year following.
“Studying abroad is something that I’ve always been really interested in,” said Solanki. “I’m really thankful and lucky to have that privilege, especially in high school.”
As for a career, Solanki is interested in foreign policy or economics.
“I think it’s important to foster more productive relationships with countries, rather than destructive alliances,” said Solanki. “And we can still have people in well-paying jobs who aren’t also working against their health and against their environment.”
MAPA has provided Solanki with time management skills, communication skills, and people skills to pursue these goals. In promoting first the People’s Climate March and then the People’s Budget through social media, Solanki found herself learning a lot about how to present data in graphics, research both sides of an issue, and reach the desired audience. Additionally, the connections Solanki made through MAPA both inspire and encourage her.
“The most memorable part might be just some of the daily interactions,” said Solanki. “I think just being around this atmosphere of people who are so well connected and want to make a difference and are always pushing each other to do better – that’s probably one of the best parts of MAPA.”