Home Support system Maxwell Frost’s campaign for Congress is all about supporting the community

Maxwell Frost’s campaign for Congress is all about supporting the community

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Maxwell Frost remembers the exact moment he started his path in politics. In 2012, at the age of 15, he attended a vigil in Washington, D.C. for the 26 people, mostly children, killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The event was sold out. “People came from all over the world for this vigil,” he said. “There was a sense of mourning, of grief, but also of community and being together.” There, Frost spoke with the teenage brother of one of the victims. He was only a year older than Frost. “Seeing a 16-year-old with the demeanor of a 60-year-old, crying over his sister, had a profound impact on me,” Frost said. “I made a commitment to fight for a world where no one has to feel that way.”

True to his word, Frost began working full-time for political candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton right out of high school and joined theme groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and March for our lives. Now, in 2022, he’s taking it to the next level: This year Frost, 25, is running to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, where, if elected, he would become one of first Gen Z members of the U.S. Congress.

Frost highlights her own story as indicative of Why the United States needs candidates like him in office – and why support networks like his are so important. Like many first-time contestants, it’s Frost’s community and friends who pushed him to stand for election. At first he was skeptical. “The first thing I said was ‘No.’ He was unsure of the impact on his work or the examination he would face. “And honestly, I wasn’t sure I could win,” he admits. “But it planted a seed in my mind. I started having conversations with people in my community and quickly discovered that people were very excited to have a young person like me – also an organizer and activist – running for office.

During this thought process, Frost, who is adopted, first came into contact with his biological mother. He discovered that she was a poor woman of color who got caught up in systems of crime, drugs and poverty. “Pick up the phone with my birth mother and hear that she had me at the most vulnerable point of her life has come full circle for me,” he says. “I hung up the phone and was like, ‘I am a candidate for Congress.'”

Frost’s campaign platform put the accent on Questions of great importance to many young people in their twenties Like him: ending gun violence, healthcare for all, environmental justice, reinventing the criminal justice system, legalizing marijuana, and decriminalizing sex work. These positions are supported by Frost’s own values. “I want people to believe that they have an inherent right to healthcare, to food, to water, to a roof over their head and to the best things the government can give them,” says- he.

Drawing on her background in community organizing and social justice, her campaign is fueled in large part by her friends, family and community. His campaign manager Kevin Lata previously worked with Frost; Frost’s father, a jazz musician, plays at his fundraisers; his mother is cooking for an upcoming event; his sister provides works of art; his girlfriend helps with text readers; and her aunt is the campaign treasurer.

Organizing money requires the power of people, just like organizing people and protests.

“His vision is just something I’ve never seen in anyone before,” says Niyah Lowell, 25, one of Frost’s closest friends since high school who helps him organize his fundraising events. of funds. “His foresight, the way he’s able to connect with people through words – that’s something I aspire to. He’s really able to pull you in and connect with anyone from anywhere. any environment.

This ability to connect is key to Frost’s campaign: within 10 months since the launch of his race, Frost heavily overfunded his opponentsbringing a total of $577,415 more than 17,000 donations in March 2022. In June, according to Florida election rules, it will be confirmed on the ballot for August 23 Democratic primary of the 10th district. He credits much of this to the dedication of his friends, who have helped him with telephone banking, door-to-door, text readers and fundraising events.

“Organizing money requires the power of people, just like organizing people and protests,” he points out. “Especially when we started, before I had a lot of [community] volunteers, it was my friends who came and called with me for fundraising and helped me plan different events.

His involvement in the community is part of how he can stay so true to his own roots. During Orlando Pride Month in 2021, Frost arranged for his high school salsa band to play on a flatbed truck — the same band, in fact, that Frost and his friends had been with. performed for President Barack Obama during his inauguration in 2013. “We had a group chat to discuss which songs to perform, and then we got together the night before to rehearse at Max’s,” says Lowell, who flew in from Arizona for the event. The energy of working with her friends got her through jet lag. “I hadn’t played since before the pandemic and didn’t realize how much I missed it!”

Lowell wasn’t the only one of his friends to show off in style: Frost’s my friend Lauren came from California to sing; his friend Sam ran the PA system; his sister painted the truck; and the band playing was made up of his best friends from high school. “I feel incredibly lucky to have such a great support system at this time, especially, but also just in my life,” Frost says.

The show of solidarity and love united those who supported him, but also highlighted issues of LGBTQ+ equality and justice. Nearly a year later, Frost points out how these themes are more essential in the light of Florida “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, which would prevent teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender in schools. March 28, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill. It takes effect on July 1.

“Races like mine are an opportunity for us to say, no, Florida doesn’t believe in that — we believe in a progressive future, one that embraces and includes every person, no matter who they are,” he said. “I’m not just going to be an ally to queer people in our community, I’m going to be an accomplice for them, fighting for protections, rights and whatever needs to be done to make people feel safe and can just live their lives.”

Frost keeps his campaign office open for long hours of the day, allowing friends and supporters to come in and out to lend a hand when and how they can – training them to knock on doors, walk through phone calls, asking for petition signatures and fundraising. Daniel Chico, 25, another of Frost’s closest friends in high school, fits into volunteering around his various jobs. “When I worked at night, I spent [to the office] at 11 a.m. we were having lunch, making calls and sending emails until about 3 p.m. when I had to leave, and then someone else would arrive to continue the cycle,” he says. His girlfriend also got involved. “We had different schedules, so she would show up and [then] I would leave. There is always a cycle of people coming in and going out.

The qualities that make Frost a good friend… are also what make him a candidate worth fighting for.

Frost is grateful to be surrounded by so many willing to participate, softening the otherwise intense and stressful race for federal office. Many people working on the campaign, including Frost, have multiple jobs or work while studying. Frost himself drives for Uber. His experiences mean that he listens to the needs of the people around him and the effort required to ensure their needs are met. “People see someone who aims to portray them going through a similar thing [to them]and they want to see more people who have been there elected,” Frost says of how his constituents view him.

In the middle of the job, the campaign team does what it can to make it fun. “Sometimes they have wine or beer, or just snacks ready for everyone,” says Frost. “The shifts we do are usually four to five hours long, so people are working in real time.”

Lowell and Chico both point out that the qualities that make Frost a good friend — his loyalty and generosity, to hear them say — are also what make him a candidate worth fighting for. “He does everything he can to help others. We have always supported each other,” says Chico.

“He always uplifts the people around him, putting them in great places,” Lowell says. “He’s really good at connecting with people and generating a lot of energy and a lift when needed.” She compares him to a DJ, “but with words instead of music”.

Frost is not naive about the role of government in change. A seasoned activist, he is well aware that power does not often give way to the voices of the poorest. But he rejects the idea that he is an idealist. “I don’t tell people that if you vote for me, these things [I stand for] will come right away. What I’m saying is if you vote for me, these are the things I’m going to fight for; this is the vision I believe in.

Frost is touched by the support of his friends and family. “Music, art, love, creativity, culture – these things make life worthwhile,” he says. This is what drives his campaign and his vote. “Understanding that we are all worthy and inherently deserving of love, care, health and the ability to do what we want to do – that is what this campaign is all about.”