by Smeeta Mahanti on March 27, 2020
After the 2016 election, I invited kids between the ages of 10 to 17 to open studios, both here in the Bay Area and in Michigan, my home state.
I asked them to come with a message about their concerns and hopes to share with the world. I wanted kids to understand the power of their voice and their vote. I also wanted to remind them that they don't need to wait until they are 18 to vote — they vote every single day with their choices and actions.
Regarding their messages, I made only one request: no hate. I asked them to create statements that were proactive, that kids and adults all over the country could hear, without labeling themselves or others.
This year, many of these young people will be voting in their first national election — and we need their insight, empathy, and strength.
This is the next generation of American voters.
All images above ©2020 Smeeta Mahanti. All rights reserved.
I am a freelance editorial and commercial photographer based in Berkeley, California. My love of photography began when I received my first Kodak Disc for my 9th birthday. I have been capturing moments ever since. With my photos, I aim to pull the viewer in and put them in that moment. In addition to my work, I am also the founder and executive director of KidsRise, a nonprofit dedicating to engaging and empowering the next generation of voters. Clients include: Google, Amazon, Stella & Dot, Snap Judgement, Laurel Burch, Sproutling, Prospect Sierra, East Bay School for Boys, Good Vibes, Habitat Magazine, Samudra Skin & Sea, Tawla, SparkPR, Yaza, Yewno, Top Shelf Grooming.