Oregon's 2021 Kid Governor working to eliminate racism
A Springville K-8 School fifth-grade student has been honored as Oregon's 2021 Kid Governor.
On Monday, Feb. 8, Taneesh Garg was "sworn in" through a virtual ceremony. Paul De Muniz, former chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, delivered the oath of office following remarks from Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.
Among the gathered virtual crowd were Garg's family and fifth-grade classmates, including former Kid Governors.
This year, more than 1,800 students from 46 schools across Oregon registered to nominate a candidate and or vote in the Kid Governor election.
Garg was among 17 applicants and seven finalists for the role. When asked what his reaction was to the news, he remembers being overwhelmed by the results.
"I thought I was totally prepared for the results, but when they came, I was shocked, excited, speechless and nervous all at the same time," recalled Garg. "Once I settled down a little bit, I became more and more excited to start off my term."
As part of Garg's campaign, the Springville K-8 student ran and won on a platform of eliminating racism. Garg's one-year term will focus on a three-point plan to tackle the issue.
"Being unkind to someone because of their skin color or their culture is hurtful," Garg said. "I don't want anybody to feel like that. Someone's culture may be different to ours, but that doesn't mean they should be treated any differently."
The issue is also personal for Garg, who says he has experienced racism firsthand. He added that it's important to take the time to learn about people's cultures.
If people are more willing to share their experiences with racism, then "it helps lots of other kids to understand and become better people every day," said Garg.
Garg has also inspired people of all ages, including current elected officials like Fagan.
"I look forward to working with him over the next year to advance his service project and help highlight the importance of civics education," Fagan said. "Taneesh is an incredible leader, and I can't wait to see how he fulfills his term as Kid Governor."
Despite winning his campaign, Garg doesn't know if politics are for him in the future, but he plans to spread the message of kindness and inclusivity throughout his term.
Garg is the second straight Oregon Kid Governor from Beaverton. Raaga Mandala, then a fifth-grader at Jacob Wismer Elementary School, was chosen as 2020 Kid Governor.
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