As students across the country become energized and speak out politically, two Bloomfield Hills High School students have founded a non-profit organization, Engage18, which will be hosting a gubernatorial primary debate on Sunday, March 11, involving most of the Democratic candidates running for Michigan governor in 2018.
The event, to be held at Bloomfield Hills High School from 6-8 p.m., is free and open to the public. It will be telecast on Bloomfield Hills Schools cable TV.
While the Democratic front runner, Gretchen Whitmer, has not yet agreed to attend, candidates Abdul El-Sayed, Shri Thanedar, and Bill Cobbs are all confirmed for the debate. The debate will be moderated by a panel of high school students.
Engage18 was founded by high school senior Zackariah Farah and Michael Goldman Brown Jr. with the purpose of getting young people informed about and engaged in politics. Farah said Egage18 team members have been attending meetings at local political organizations to fundraise for the gubernatorial debate, and are planning additional events similar to this in the future.
He said that at this point they have raised enough money to pay for the venue, the Bloomfield Hills High School Performing Arts Center, which can hold 780 audience members.
“This is a historic event for several reasons,” Brown wrote in an email. “It has the potential to be one of the only televised gubernatorial primary debates in Michigan history, and it is the only debate that we've found (after an extensive search) that will have been both hosted and moderated by high school students.”