|Senior works to bring democracy to Hispanic community
RELEASED: Oct. 31, 2002
DANVILLE, KYWhile things heat up in Danville with local elections and the anticipation of the arrival of the Declaration of Independence on campus, Tara Metts is also in the thick of the democratic process.
Metts, a senior from Louisville, Ky., is serving as the Hispanic outreach/field coordinator in an internship with the Kentucky Democratic Party this fall.
Working out of Frankfort, Metts has organized projects throughout the state that include voter registration drives and political rallies.
Beside registering new voters, one of my main goals has been to establish a relationship of trust between the Latino community and the Democratic Party, she said. Through this program, our candidates are becoming educated about Hispanic issues and the Hispanic community is learning about their rights and what the candidates stand for.
Metts, who is pursuing a double-major in international studies and Spanish, petitioned the State Board of Elections to print Kentuckys voter registration card in Spanish. A compromise was reached in which the Board agreed to accept a federal Spanish voter card that can be printed from the Internet. Metts then reproduced these cards and has made them available to the Hispanic community.
Metts has been highly involved in the political arena at Centre. As a junior she was president of the Centre Democrats and was vice president of the College Democrats of Kentucky. She has also served as a member of the Student Government Association.
Two years ago Metts founded the Teen Court program for Boyle and Mercer counties. The program is a branch of the juvenile justice system where students, who have been through training, fill the roles of defense attorney, prosecutor, bailiff, clerk and jury for misdemeanor crimes committed by juveniles. In a sentencing court the accused defend themselves and are sentenced by a group of their peers. The District Court judge presides and the sentences are legally binding.
Metts participated in this program for four years in Jefferson County and founded the program locally to continue her involvement. As coordinator, she recruits students from local high schools, helps train them, organizes the swearing-in ceremony and follows up with the juveniles and their parents to ensure that their sentences, if they are found guilty, are completed.
Traning for the third year of Teen Court is underway. The first year 22 high school students participated, and more than 60 did last year.
After graduation, Metts plans to work in a field that combines her interest in politics with her knowledge of the Spanish language and culture.
- end -
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422
Public Information Coordinator: Telephone 859-238-5714