The power of youth who use their voice to advocate on their own behalf has been growing stronger in California in the past few years. The Free Our Dream Conference, held at UC Davis over the past weekend, seeked to empower young people from all across the state to make changes in their communities.
Life is a journey. My time at Access Local taught me many things but most important of all, it shows me ways to improve my life at every corner.
As millennials have become the largest living generation, approximately 75.4 million people, surpassing the Baby Boomers, the youth vote is now important as ever. Although young people voting has increased over the years, the age range of 18 to 24 years old is still the lowest percentage of voters out of the age groups.
To combat this problem, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2455 or the Student Voting Act into law. AB 2455 will require the California State University and California Community College systems to provide students with an easy way to register to vote as well as to encourage the University of California to do the same as well. The bill was created when Assemblymember David Chiu held a contest called “There Ought to Be a Law” and two Berkeley students proposed the idea.
“Encouraging young people to vote is good for our democracy. Students represent a significant segment of California’s eligible voting population, yet their voices are not being heard in our elections,” said Assemblymember Chiu in the California Civic Engagement Project newsletter. “Creating a one stop shop so that students can register to vote when they enroll for classes is the first step in getting them to the polls.”
Through this law, young people will be more easily persuaded to hit the voting booths since having to register to vote cannot just be another excuse. The law will focus on students doing their civic duty as well as hope to raise voting rates for young people and overall.
But the Student Voting Act may also prevent voting issues for students since they will register in the county of their school. During the primary elections, many students had trouble voting because they were registered in their permanent address’ county. Students were either able to do a change of address form or told they could only vote in that county.
“I had to register to vote in Yolo county since I used to be registered in Los Angeles,” said fourth-year Psychology major, Michelle Venegas. “It was a bit annoying having to register to vote again and in the end, I was unable to vote in the Primary anyways.”
Unfortunately, the law may have come just a little too late to make an impact in this year’s election. Many college students appeared to be fans of senator Bernie Sanders, however Sanders did not receive enough votes to win the Primary. If students were already registered to vote in a certain county, maybe the outcome could have been a bit different.
“I was a Bernie supporter so I was disappointed that I was unable to vote for him,” Venegas said. “And it was event more disappointing when Hillary won the California Primary.”
As millennials have finally surpassed the Baby Boomers, they could play a pivotal role in this year’s election. But with Sanders out, it will be interesting to see if the youth do want to play a game of pick your poison, by voting this November.
People from different communities, organizations, educators, and youth teams filled the Serna Center during the June 5th School Board meeting. The board members covered a variety of subjects , such as school disciplinary actions, funding of schools, and praise for the good work which residents are performing in the communities. The main issues that the public speakers focused on were more constructive disciplinary actions, such as Restorative Justice, the LCAP or Local Control Accountability Plan, and The LCFF or Local Control Funding Formula.
Those who spoke said that they believe that suspensions and expulsions aren’t effective remedies to students who aren’t disrupting the learning in the classroom. They felt that their removal away from their education and there are better solutions to handle a defiant child, like Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice is instead of suspending a student who is defiant, they shouldn’t be given a punishment that limits their education.
The next issue addressed was the LCAP. The LCAP is the process where the they are going to figure out what needs to be funded from the LCFF, which is $31 million earmarked for Sacramento’s school districts. This plan received mostly great feedback, but youth noticed their voices weren’t included into the discussion of where the money was going.
Zelia Gonzalez, a student at the Met Sacramento High School, was appalled by the district’s youth response and created a survey with the Met students. 128 students out of 300 students responded to this survey. The students listed these priorities:School materials and supplies for students who don’t have the means to purchase these materials, school provided lunches, which was interesting because school lunches aren’t funded by the LCFF , extra-curricular and cutural activities for youth during the summer and after school who are bored, leading them to participate in mischief. They would also like more art programming so youth can have a constructive outlet to express themselves.
This is a video about a program at La Familia Counselling Center. The program basically helps at risk youth. They show the youth that they have a voice and theyre re still good things you can do for your community. The program held a lot of events like the Halloween event. I hope you enjoy.
What thing in your life do you depend upon so much that you just can’t imagine living without it? Is it a person or a thing or a feeling? What would your life be without it?
I asked the members of the Youth Voice program at La Familia to talk about the things they just can’t live without and why. I hope you enjoy their insights. Click the above image to hear the recording.
There are many groups doing great work to create positive change in their communities all over Sacramento, and bringing young people into the fold helps that change become a sustainable movement. But what motivates a young person to devote their time towards positive change? We asked that question to the members of the Youth Voice program at La Familia, and here are their answers.
This week, participants in La Familia’s Youth Voice program were asked to take one photo of their neighborhood to capture something that was important or relevant to their daily life. Here are two examples of their work:
G. Aguilar – This picture was taken on March 18 around 4 p.m. These exact apartemnts are the local kick it spot on my street. I live on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Usually around 7ish to 8ish that’s when everyone starts coming and we all go to the liqour store down the street to buy a bunch of food to sit outside and eat. Or we go down to Harvest Foods and buy a ton of meat to BBQ and enjoy the evening together. The people that live there have the most upbeat atittudes. They’re always so cheerful and welcoming to newcomers who come and spend the evenings with us. Usually the smell is a mixture of BBQ and cigarettes because of the people who smoke around us. All the sounds that surround us is mainly laughter and kids yelling. This is the best spot to come to when you go to Oak Park.
Are you a young person living in South Sacramento who has ever felt like your voice is not heard? Would you be interested in working with other people your own age to change your community for the better? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a youth leader? If you said yes to any of the above questions, the organizers of the Youth Voice Program at La Familia Counseling Center are looking for you.
The Youth Voice Program provides young people with the opportunity to develop leadership skills through community service projects, by learning how to influence system change, taking part in educational and career opportunities, and engaging in peer mentoring so that they become stakeholders in their own communities. Participants are also taught how to express themselves by producing digital internet content such as blogs, videos, and stories about their experiences.
In order to qualify for the program, you must be between the ages of 14-21 and reside within South Sacramento. Meetings are held every week on Friday at 4:00 at the La Familia Counseling Center on the corner of Franklin Blvd. and Fruitridge Rd. The first meeting will be this Friday, March 9, 2012 at 4:00pm.
The first group of Youth Voice mentors just graduated, and space for this year’s class is limited. For more information, please contact Youth Leadership Coordinator Apolonia Cortez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 916-452-3601.