People of Eastern: The first-year making a political statement.

When Meg Malkemes walks in a room, she looks exhausted. Despite this exhaustion, her hair is perfectly pulled back into a bun, her eyes are lined with perfect black wings, her outfit is right on trend and her face is covered with a smile. The nineteen-year-old first year is more involved in her communities than most – her resume is extensive and impressive.

On campus, Malkemes has found her place in many different groups and organizations. She is the secretary of the class of 2023, the secretary of MAAC (the Multicultural Awareness Advisory Committee) and a member of Blaze. She also works for the Center for Career Development where she created “make money moves” stickers. In her three months on campus, she has not only found a home, but she has made her presence known.

The political science major spends her time fighting for justice for communities all over the spectrum of marginalization. A self-described activist, Malkemes was inspired by her parents, who are social workers. Hailing from the Boston, Massachusetts neighborhood of Dorchester, Malkemes and her family been involved in community activism in Boston almost all her life. In high school, she was the Director of Civic Engagement in the Mayor of Boston’s Youth Council. She also worked with Vote 16, an organization that fights to bring the voting age down from eighteen to sixteen.

More recently, Malkemes has increased the intensity of her activism. On Nov. 9, Malkemes was a speaker at TEDxYouth Beacon Street at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her speech, titled “Why Everyone Needs to Stop Problem Solving,” was about people’s intentions and feelings surrounding activism. While activism is great, Malkemes says that we should be doing activism for the good of others, not just for our own satisfaction.

Malkemes’ passion and drive for change and social justice might remind one of “the Squad,” a group of four freshmen congresswomen making waves in the House. Funny enough, one of these four young women happens to Malkemes’ own congresswoman. Ayanna Pressley happens to represent Dorchester in the House, and it is something Malkemes is proud of.

“Ayanna looks like most people in Dorchester,” Malkemes said. When she talks about Pressley, a sense of light and energy comes to her eyes; you can tell she thinks very highly of the congresswoman.

In everything she does, Malkemes keeps the Lord in mind. To Malkemes, her faith forms her activism. The idea of shalom has especially inspired her and her activism. Shalom, a Hebrew word often translated to the English word peace, is so much more than that in Malkemes’ eyes.

“Shalom is the idea of wholeness and the world has God intended,”  Malkemes said.

Malkemes does her work to bring wholeness to the world in every community, and she is doing all of this at the young age of nineteen.

When she was asked if she lives her life by any sayings or Bible verses, she quickly said “1 John 3:16-18!” and pulled out her Bible to find the exact text. This passage easily sums up what her mission is: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (NLT).

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