Orange County Register

Sacramento Trip Sharpens Advocacy Skills

This spring, I had the opportunity to travel to Sacramento as part of a new student initiative at Cal State Fullerton to expose the student population to advocacy at the local and state levels. This experience was important for me, as it provided an opportunity to put into practice what I had learned and to work collaboratively with my peers to advocate on behalf of the homeless.

Students from various majors were selected to participate. I was eager to attend this one-day event in order to fully immerse myself in learning how to become an advocate and better understand how the legislative process works. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate career, I have been interested in learning about how students can have a voice and represent each other, not just in their classrooms, but also in Sacramento, where new laws are adopted.

Soon after arriving at the Capitol, we attended the CSU Legislative Advocacy Day breakfast with many representatives from the 23-campus system. Our guest speaker was Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. The state senator spoke about his journey to the Capitol and shared several instances during his childhood and adolescence when he struggled with educational disparities in the United States and yet managed to obtain a four-year college degree.

In hearing his speech, I was able to recall instances during my own childhood struggling with similar challenges, due to living in a low-income community where opportunities were limited. He mentioned how the ZIP code where people live affects the educational opportunities they will be able to obtain. He also spoke about how the CSU system is working to change this and is making it possible for students from any socioeconomic status to be able to go to college.

During this trip, I also had the opportunity to meet legislators who come from cities near were I grew up in Santa Ana, including Assemblywoman Young Kim, who represents the 65th District. I also had the privilege to meet Meredith Turner, CSU assistant executive director and chief governmental officer for the Cal State Student Association, and Karen Zamarripa, assistant vice chancellor of advocacy and state relations for the CSU. They were able to guide us in the process of advocating on behalf of the homeless in Orange County. Continue reading.

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