Noah Shreiber and Isaac Lomprey, both sophomores at Berkeley High School, believe too many people are stuck in a political rut and aren’t particularly open to exploring other people’s perspectives. They decided to do something about it and formed the Diverse Political Views Club at the school. Now they’ve just pulled off their first coup: organizing a student-moderated mayoral forum on campus. All six of Berkeley’s wannabe mayors have said they will attend the forum, which takes place on Monday Oct. 29 at the BHS Library, 7:00-8:00 p.m., and is open to anyone who would like to know more about their potential local leaders. We caught up with Lomprey to find out more about what drove the pair to become so politically engaged.
You’re both sophomores at BHS in the Academic Choice school. How did you get to know each other?
Noah and I first met through our moms when we were very young, but later we got to know each other at summer camp, and started really being friends after we were in the same freshman biology class.
Why did you decide to form a Diverse Political Views Club?
We formed this club because Noah and I found that too many people are stuck in their own political ideologies and don’t dare to consider other viewpoints beside their own.
Do you think the lack of openness to diverse political views is particular to Berkeley? Yes, I think there is a definite lack of diverse political views in Berkeley but I don’t think Berkeley is the only city with a lack of political diversity. Berkeley in general tends to be extremely liberal and somewhat hostile to other points of view. I really think that if people just looked at, and discussed, the criticism of opposing ideas Berkeley might become an even better city.
How many members does the club have? When and where do you meet?
We started this club at the very end of September with two members and now we get anywhere from five to a dozen kids at our meetings depending on the day. We meet Mondays at lunch wherever we decide to eat together. We don’t have a set meeting room.
What type of issues and events is the club discussing and/or organizing?
We talk about national, global, state and local politics in all aspects while trying to understand other group members’ opinions. Currently we’re focused on the mayoral forum.
What led you to the idea of asking the mayoral candidates to do a panel in front of students?
I was walking in the door of my house and I saw a flyer for a candidate for mayor on the doorstep. That same evening was the first presidential debate. I wanted to know more about the candidates for mayor of Berkeley. All of the sudden I had an inspiration to organize this event with my newly formed club.
Do you think BHS students are generally well-informed and/or engaged in politics generally. And what about local politics?
I think there is a lack all around in students’ knowledge of local, state, national and global politics and I think there is an even larger gap specifically in local politics because kids just can’t turn on the TV or open up a newspaper to hear the important local stories. If only Berkeleyside could be on cable TV! [Ed: wait, don't teenagers know about the Internet?]
What other events would you ideally like to organize?
Our club has been working on its current event but we’d definitely be interested in hosting more local political events.
What would you like the club to achieve long-term?
I’d love to see the club continue to host political events and for it to be around long after I graduate from Berkeley High.
Ranked choice creates uncertainty in mayoral race [10.25.12]
Five Berkeley mayoral candidates face off at neighborhood forum [10.02.12]
Berkeley on course for $250,000 election [10.08.12]
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