Representative Wilson, wearing a cowboy hat, and Lianna Kowiak, standing to Wilson's left, try to make their mark against hazing.
Representative Wilson, wearing a cowboy hat, and Lianna Kowiak, standing to Wilson’s left, try to make their mark against hazing.

We often have our eyes on the big-picture effects of our broken political system, but every now and again, an instance of corruption grabs our heart and tears it from our chest. Take the story of Harrison Kowiak, for instance:

Harrison Kowiak was 19 years old when he died after schoolmates pummeled him on a pitch-black field in Hickory, North Carolina. It was part of a fraternity hazing.

Absolutely heartbreaking. But at least it appeared as if some good was going to come of this tragedy.

Determined to protect other students, Kowiak’s mother Lianne devoted herself to fighting hazing. She thought she had a powerful ally in U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson, who calls herself the “Haze Buster” and backed Florida’s tough anti-hazing law as a member of the state legislature in 2005.

But sadly, lobbying from the fraternities was determined to keep that from happening.

What Kowiak didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, the fraternity industry’s political arm, known as “FratPAC,” had been pressing Wilson to back off. Today, 19 months after Wilson first promised an anti-hazing bill, she hasn’t filed one.

So, in an infuriating-but-not-at-all-surprising turn, our government cannot make commonsense reform if there is a powerful enough lobby to get in the way.

This is not how America is supposed to work. Lianne Kowiak–just like every other American–deserves a system free from corruption. And that’s what we’re fighting for.

Head to RepresentUs and check out our plan to fix the system. Because as this story painfully reminds us, that fix is long overdue.

About Olivia Foster
1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *