We the People: Truman Hamburger

Truman Hamburger is a junior at Dickinson High School and co-founder of the Student Advocates of North Dakota.

At school, he’s involved in speech and Student Congress – an extracurricular activity he’s been involved with for the last five years. At home, he likes woodworking and tinkering in the garage.

But more than that, Truman likes to get involved in his community, which is why he helped organize the recent protest against House Bill 1298, discriminatory legislation targeting transgender student athletes.

QUESTION: Why are you involved in Student Advocates of North Dakota?

ANSWER: Around the beginning of the school year, Athalia Haughton and I were discussing all the horrible bills in the House and our dissatisfaction with other student groups’ ability to affect change. That dissatisfaction would eventually lead to the creation of SAND - Student Advocates of North Dakota. 

Q: Why do you think it’s important for young people to be involved in their communities?

A: Young people often think that their opinions don't matter, and are often told they don't, simply because they cannot vote. A big part of SAND is showing kids that not only do their opinions matter but they can change the world for the better. Most kids have a little portal to the entire world in their pockets, so there is no excuse for not being active in our communities.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in getting more politically involved in their community?

A: If anyone wants to get involved with their communities, all you have to do is look. Speaking from experience, there are always groups in need of help. Whether it’s helping the food banks for an afternoon or driving to the Capitol to protest, you can find a place to help!

Q: Which of the Constitution’s Amendments are most important to you and why?

A: I have never been known to shut up. The First Amendment is so important to me because of my firm belief in standing up for what you believe in, even if you are the only one. 

Q: What issues do you think are most important for the North Dakota Legislature?

A: I believe that the North Dakota Legislature is facing an uncertain future, We have a predominately farming and ranching based economy, and where we are heading with climate change, we could be seeing many issues in the near future. 

Q: Which of the ACLU’s issue areas are you particularly passionate about and why?

A: I am incredibly passionate about free speech and First Amendment rights. I believe that everyone has the right to speak out about what they think!

Q: What plans do you have after high school?

A: After high school, I want to get a secondary education in law and hopefully go into politics and political activism full time!