Mackenzie Boughey, a senior at Severn School, is the first-ever youth recipient of a Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award for her work in establishing the March for Our Lives Annapolis chapter.
The TWIN award ceremony has been hosted by the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County since 1985 and recognizes professional women in the following fields: nonprofits or community, health, education, environment, the arts, and business and the next generation of leaders.
Boughey, who was nominated by Douglas Lagarde, the headmaster of Severn School, did not expect anything to come from the nomination.
“In late August, I got an email from the YWCA with some information and put it aside to read later,” said Boughey. “I showed the email to my parents and they were like, ‘Mackenzie, this says you won.’”
Boughey said her love of community service comes from her parents.
“When I was in elementary school, after the [Sandy Hook Elementary School] shooting, my parents and I participated in the 26 Random Acts of Kindness campaign to honor the 26 lives lost,” said Boughey. “That inspired me to do something; I wanted to help everyone.”
In 2018, after the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Boughey, then a high school sophomore, said she couldn’t understand why school shootings kept happening.
The victims’ families and survivors used their voices and took a stand against gun violence in schools. This was the beginning of March for Our Lives, a youth campaign that brought together millions of people to put an end to senseless gun violence, and Boughey was inspired to start a chapter in her community.
“They called for ‘sister marches,’ so I brought their message to Annapolis,” said Boughey.
Over 2,500 people showed up in Annapolis on March 24 to convey their message to lawmakers.
“At the march, I told everyone that we weren’t done there,” said Boughey.
Since then, Boughey has organized letter-writing campaigns to legislators, roundtable discussions to establish connections, and heard a lot of solutions.
“There has been some push-back and a lot of ageism. People don’t think we’re old enough to have a voice,” said Boughey. “Gun violence affects everyone. If something affects you, you should have a say.”
All of the negativity has inspired Boughey to take a different approach to her efforts, and she has been looking for solutions from people of all political backgrounds.
“People are divided in national politics, and nothing is getting done,” said Boughey. “I want to start up a conversation from the middle and get everyone to compromise.”
Boughey, who is graduating this spring, will attend Washington College in the fall to study political science or sociology.
“I’m hoping to bring the March for Our Lives message with me to college. I just don’t know if it will be a few events, or if I’ll start a chapter,” said Boughey.
Boughey has started the process of looking for a leader of the Annapolis chapter after she graduates.
She hopes to work in social justice and bridge the gap between people and politics.