Name: Amelia Hallman
Major: Social Relations and Policy with a minor in Spanish
Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana
“Honestly? It’s so wrong that my name has ‘man’ in it. It should be Hallwoman,” sophomore Amelia Hallman said shortly after we met for our interview. Along with being a passionate feminist, Hallman is a James Madison student studying Social Relations and Policy. Previously, she had been the membership director for Spartans for Hillary and a fellow for the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign.
Hallman’s interest in politics sparked at a young age. In particular, she remembers closely following the 2008 primaries. Despite this, she didn’t consider a career in politics until her junior year of high school, when she attended a leadership conference for her AP U.S. History class.
“My high school was not very political at all, and it was very conservative, so I was kind of the outlier being the liberal kid in the room,” Hallman said. “That conference was the first time I was introduced to politics and social issues as something you could study as a field – as a tangible thing. I realized then what I wanted to study. Before that, I always thought politics would only be a hobby.”
Both of Hallman’s parents had attended Michigan State University, and it was Hallman’s mother who suggested she consider the James Madison College. Hallman appreciated the residential program and felt it would be a good fit for her.
“I like that the majors in James Madison are very specialized, yet broad. Social Relations and Policy is social issues, which in my opinion can encompass anything, not just things like gay marriage and abortion,” Hallman said. “I think it’s a very broad term to describe policy.”
Hillary Clinton serves as the biggest inspiration in Hallman’s life. Not only is her room adorned with Clinton memorabilia, but she dressed up as her for Halloween and keeps a biography of the secretary in her car. As a freshman, Hallman became involved with the group Spartans for Hillary.
As a member of Spartans for Hillary, Hallman phone-banked for Clinton and participated in meetings discussing her policies and debates with other organizations. Last January, she was able to meet Clinton when the group travelled to Iowa to hear her Get Out the Caucus speech.
“I just really love Hillary,” Hallman said. “She’s an inspiration. She’s very perfect in every single way. She’s everything I hope and dream to be.”
Having followed Clinton since 2008, Hallman spent much of her life waiting in anticipation for Clinton’s chance to run again. As the super PAC formerly named Ready for Hillary was introduced and most individuals suspected a run from Clinton, Hallman became more anxious. When the announcement finally came, she didn’t hesitate to get involved.
“The day she announced, I remember watching her video and being so excited and knowing I wanted to be involved. I think the second I turned 18, I donated a measly $15 to the campaign. They kept asking for more money, and I didn’t have that being a broke college student, so I donated my time instead,” Hallman said.
As a fellow for the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign, Hallman was responsible with registering voters, canvassing both on and off campus to motivate supporters and speak to undecided voters, and building a loving and progressive community on Michigan State’s campus.
During Get Out the Vote, the four days leading up to the election, Hallman took on a leadership role and worked 12+ hour days making sure that canvassing ran smoothly and efficiently.
On Nov. 8, Hallman and the other members of the campaign drove to Detroit to attend a celebration with the Michigan Democratic Party. However, as the night became morning and the chances for a Clinton win became bleak, much of the trip was devoted to crying in a hotel room.
“I think we were all way too overconfident that she was going to win. I know that I personally didn’t even start thinking about Trump actually winning until a week or two before the election because I had focused mostly on why I thought Hillary was the best candidate and not why I didn’t want Trump,” Hallman said. “Obviously I didn’t think it would be a sure thing, or else we wouldn’t have worked so hard, but I had an overall feeling of positivity that we’d be moving forward and not backward.”
Despite her disappointment, Hallman has not lost her drive. She believes that there is much we can do on an individual level and hopes to do some work for nonprofits. Naturally, it would be a dream of hers to work for the Clinton Foundation, but for now, she’s concerned with organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and environmental advocacy groups.
“The environment can’t wait, it’s dying,” Hallman said.
For Hallman, one of the worst things that has come from the election is the influx of hatred from Trump’s supporters. However, Hallman has already began thinking about how to combat this.
She believes progressives need to keep the momentum Clinton supporters are feeling going so that in 2018 Democrats can try to take back the House or Senate. In addition, she advocates spreading love and understanding on a personal level.
“One thing you can do is talk to friends and family who voted for Trump or didn’t vote and try to understand where they’re coming from. We can’t discount their feelings, they’re still valid and they still made a big impact on this election. We need to move forward from here and try to move some hearts,” Hallman said. “Obviously I disagree with every Trump supporter with every fiber of my being, but at the end of the day, that anger they felt was real to them, and we need to understand that.”