Action Civics LA Youth Leader Spotlight featuring WAGNER ESCOBEDO!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Wagner Escobedo, and I am 15 year old immigrant living in South Central Los Angeles, California. I was born in the Capital of Guatemala and came to the U.S at the age of 6 months. I currently attend Pathways Community High School which is located in South Central as well and it is a growing charter full of the most caring and dearing staff and teachers. I think something that always allowed me to stand out and give me that push of courage was the moment when I came out as Gay in 9th Grade. I have always been extremely passionate about immigration and, no matter what, how it has as always been an important foundation for this nation. As much as we choose to see immigration as bad thing, it has been immigrants who built and continue to contribute to this nation economically. Another issue that always hit my heart was police brutality for the main reason that I can be next or any other of my peers could be gone.
Tell us about your Action Civics LA – Mikva Challenge experience? What was that like?
My experience with ACLA has just been breathtaking. You know, growing up I have so my opinions and to be able to let them out to other students and to adults as well is just amazing because you know that they either share your same points of view or at least will agree with you. But just the idea of having your voice heard and knowing you have the capability to reach others through your message is what really makes this Mikva experience amazing.
What’s a favorite memory or funny story you have working with ACLA – Mikva Challenge?
So, when Mikva invited us to go on the Iowa Presidential Campaign trip was honestly the best moment. What made that whole time unforgettable was the snow because I’ve never seen so much of it! The only thing that I don’t miss is the cold levels during the trip. Like, honestly, without exaggeration on the last day the weather was at -4 degrees, and I felt like I was going to die frozen.
How has your experience with ACLA – Mikva Challenge informed who you are today?
I think this whole experience has opened my eyes to what profession I want to pursue when I grow older. Not only did it offer inspiration to me but it also allowed me to be more outspoken towards issues that really impact me.
What advice do you have for people who believe their voice isn’t important enough to make a difference?
Your voice will always matter. No matter how big or small or how old or young, your voice will make an impact bigger than you can ever imagine. Your voice just might be that push which other people need to so they can speak and voice their opinions as well.
What are you up to now?
Well, right now I’m kind of free at the moment but I’m always advocating for matters that affect me like the Black Lives Matter movement. I am currently school president and it’s really fun because you get to hear the opinions of the whole school and accommodate to their ideas for future school events.
Anything else you want to share?
I honestly believe that Mikva is just an amazing program because it’s paving the way for this nation’s future leaders. It offers youth the opportunity to voice who they are and what they believe in.