RALEIGH, N.C. – It’s not uncommon to see a line out of the door at the state legislature on a busy day.
Lobbyists, advocates and the public make their way into the building to speak to their lawmakers.
This day, however, the line is out of the door with groups who can’t vote, yet.
The West Bladen High School History Club is visiting the legislature, hosted by the political organizing group El Pueblo.
Senior Karla Dimas-Lopez was excited about the trip.
“Whenever we were planning out this field trip at a meeting, I brought it up because that's what we always do. And I told them, we're going to go to the General Assembly next month. And many people didn't even know what the General Assembly was,” Dimas-Lopez said.
Most of the students never had the chance to visit before. They live over an hour away.
“I've never been here before, but it's a lot fancier than I thought it would be,” Dimas-Lopez said.
The students heard from a lawmaker and took part in a scavenger hunt around the building.
For a group that cares about history, the building is filled with fun facts. Dimas-Lopez also sees the future.
“I mean, it's kind of weird because, I mean, like, right here, it's like one of the Senate chambers,” Dimas-Lopez said. “You know that it's happening, but you never really get to see it in person. You just hear about it like on the news or you read articles about it, but ... you don't get to see in person.”
She says she’s especially glad that she and her classmates got the chance to learn who they should go to when they see a problem.
“I think it's very important, because I don't think Bladen County is really known to be like a good county. There's many, like issues relating to communities being, like, negatively affected by the environment, by different things like that. So I think it's very important for people to see that voting really does matter because we're here,” she said.
Dimas-Lopez hasn’t had the chance to vote yet but is ready to exercise her civic rights.
“You know, I miss voting by a day because my 18th birthday was the day after voting day.”