When I met Sarah Shamoon, I asked her what she was up to this summer like I was a cool adult trying to make a teen feel comfortable. This was a question I had known the answer to hours before, but had spontaneously forgotten, and was expecting to hear that she was participating in a teen-appropriate summer job or internship. She said, “I’m the deputy campaign manager for Marti Speranza for City Council.” Oh, right!
Shamoon, 18, just graduated from the New York City Lab School—and is headed to Harvard in the fall—and has somehow already been working in politics for four years. What started as an internship with Gale Brewer for Manhattan Borough President when she was 14 (the year before she entered high school) has turned into a career-driving passion.
Jezebel spoke with Shamoon on Wednesday afternoon, about the campaigns she’s worked on, her stint as one of the youngest members on her local Community Board in the country, petitioning to get more city money for her public high school’s bathrooms and gym, and why politics are so exciting.
As a teen, she said, “You kind of think, ah, no one cares what I think. They’re all just on Facebook, they don’t care about this; All the adults just think, stupid millennials, whatever. But to have the opportunity to actually effect change by getting someone elected who has the same beliefs as you do, I think that has really guided me throughout the last four years in my work and how I approach politics.”
Her class came of age largely under the Obama administration—now, as they make decisions about what to focus on after college, the national mood has starkly plummeted. For Shamoon, though, that’s only been a kick in the ass.
“I went to a very, very progressive, loving high school and when we hear someone who’s trying to tear down what we believe in and the fabric of our community, and the demographics that my friends... represent, it’s really a call to action to my peers and myself,” she said. “We need to get active and we need to work together to see and to ensure that the values that we love and we cherish so much are protected over the next four-to-eight years.”
Watch our full interview below, and, I don’t know, maybe keep your ears open for Shamoon 2036.