On February 17th, 2016, students, teachers and community partners from across Los Angeles came together at the 2nd annual Actions Civics LA Youth Summit. The event aimed to prepare students for leadership in their classrooms and action projects by introducing them to activism steps while providing mentorship from engaged and passionate community change-makers.
The following post was a response to the Summit written by students from University High School in Los Angeles, CA. They are members of Mikva Challenge Youth Beat Journalists, a group of young people working to elevate the voices of young people on issues of social and political importance.
The Rising Voices of Youth
By Bryanna Johnson, Laijona Morris, Jada O’Mally, and Chayse Richardson
We are a new generation of youth who are taking charge and bringing about positive change for our communities and ourselves. On February 17, 2016, we were part of a group of high school students from all over LA County who got the opportunity to discuss their views on society. We addressed real life situations that impact our community’s growth on topics such as immigration, gun control and the education system.
During our experience at Action Civics LA, we determined that we all have a voice. In today’s world, teens are often not given the opportunity to voice their opinions in the way we did at the Summit. In the forum we came together, worked together, discussed pivotal situations occurring in our neighborhoods, and created action plans to fix those problems.
Through collaborating on plans to solve the problems we see in our communities, we realized how hard it was to create a plan and how, considering all obstacles, it would be even harder to put those plans into action. By working through all the action steps, we grew in our confidence about being able to put plans into action in our schools and neighborhoods.
The Youth Summit not only taught us how to bring action to issues, but also gave us a sense of belonging and made us realize that our voices and opinions do indeed matter. Having that peer support helped us realize the importance of coming together to implement change. We learned that the issues we choose will then determine who we need to talk to, the type of funding we need, and the type of communication we need to have with the people around us.
As a group, we discovered that our voices matter and can have a huge impact on our peers and our communities. We now understand that the only way to accomplish our goals is to work together and strive for greatness to establish a sense of unity in our communities.