W-L LWV and Girls in Film Club collaborate on Halloween-themed PSA


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington-Liberty’s League of Women Voters’ and Girls in Film clubs are teaming up to create a public service announcement (PSA) encouraging students to register to vote and participate in the political process. The PSA will be halloween themed, revolving around the idea that it is “scary not to vote.” 

“We’re going to have a zombie suffragette rise from the grave to tell the viewer to vote.” senior Marlaena Henry, co-president of the Girls in Film club, said. “It’s not that scary to vote. It’s scary not to vote.”

“I reached out to the League of Women Voters looking for service opportunities to help with the upcoming election,” Henry said. “As I [spoke] with President Alana McBride, the idea [formed] in my head. Both [of] our clubs are about women and we should team up [to create the PSA].”

Henry and senior Peyton Fern are co-presidents of the club. 

“I think it’s very important to get involved and have the community know that even though we can’t vote yet, we still want to do everything we can in order to get the vote out.” Fern said. “We also think of it as an awesome way to show our film-making abilities [and] also use it for the greater good of the community.”

The Girls in Film club is a club founded last year by the class of 2020. The club studies films throughout history with a focus on female roles within the industry. With a lack of female representation in the filmmaking industry, the goal of the club is to empower female filmmakers. With the help of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Film teacher, Mrs. Rosa Reyes, they were able to grow their club from one member to over twenty during the summer. 

Another female-centered club, the Washington-Liberty League of Women Voters was also founded in the 2019-2020 school year. It is founded as the first voter registration club at the school. Most seniors at the school are eligible to vote by the spring of their senior year. In Virginia, students can register in advance and vote in any primary or special election leading up to the general election, if they are seventeen and will turn eighteen by the next general election. The club brought voter registration forms to school and got students to register. This year, however, many of the club’s normal activities are not possible because the school is shut down. The group still has many online and in-person volunteer opportunities. 

“The goal was to get as many people at [the school] registered as possible,”  President Alana McBride said. 

In early September, McBride reached out to students, asking if they wanted to volunteer with the League of Women Voters. In response, the two co-presidents of the Girls in Film Club offered to create a PSA about voting. Both groups are encouraging students to vote in the upcoming general election, and emphasize the importance of this election and the impact that voting could have. McBride also stressed the importance of the League of Women Voters’ nonpartisanship. 

“We don’t take a side [on behalf of] either political party.” McBride said. “We really believe in the importance of everybody being given the right to vote.” 

The lack of information about down-ballot issues is also a concern for McBride. Many students are unaware of the other issues on the ballot in addition to the presidential race. 

“Down-ballot issues are also really important to know about and to learn about because those are the things that will directly impact your life, your family’s life, and your friends’ lives,” McBride said. “So, educating yourself and others about local issues is also incredibly important in addition to the large macro issues that we see [on the ballot].”

Two constitutional amendments to the Virginia constitution were on the ballot this year. One amendment had to do with gerrymandering and who should decide congressional and state legislative districts. The second amendment being proposed had to do with property taxes that veterans pay on their vehicles. Both amendments passed during the 2020 general election. 

“It is incredibly important for people to know their leaders and know that they have the ability to have that impact.” McBride said. “Voting is how [leaders] keep their jobs, and it’s how they lose their jobs. We as citizens have the ability to hold them accountable and it is incredibly important that we do that.”