This year, 10 members of 206 Forward- Youth Advocates of Seattle, a Seattle Parks and Recreation Citywide Teen and Young Adult club, joined more than 120 young people in Olympia on January 29 & 30 for the Legislative Youth Action Day. Young people came from around the state to speak with their state legislators about several issues, including funding services for people who are homeless, equitable distribution of funding for education, and police accountability.
Ericka Guan, a Junior at Rainier Beach High School and a member of 206 Forward wrote about her experience in Olympia:
Youth action Day impacted me by believing and trusting that I can actually speak up for my own beliefs. The most memorable moment for me was when I spoke with Representative Eric Pettigrew about police brutality. It was scary but worth it. I was completely ready to say what I had to say . I had the confidence to talk to Eric about my personal experience and asked for his support in holding police more accountable.
206 Forward members also met with their Senator, Rebecca Saldaña. She listened as young people shared their families’ experiences of homelessness and encouraged young people to break down barriers so people who are homeless are not separated from the community.
Members of 206 Forward also shared their concerns with Representative Sharon Tomiko-Santos about budget cuts that Seattle School District is experiencing. Representative Tomiko-Santos highlighted that while the state determines the amount of money dedicated to fund education, school boards are responsible for how funds are distributed within the district. When she asked 206 Forward about whose parents have ever attending a school board meeting, no one rose a hand. Representative Tomiko-Santos encouraged students to use their voice at school board meetings to advocate for how school funds are distributed, especially for students whose parents are not able to attend these meetings.
Aden Afework, a Junior at Cleveland High School, shared that she was inspired during Youth Action Day to see so many other young people, especially young People of Color, passionate and advocating for what is important to them and their communities. While in Olympia, she quickly jumped into action with Gian Rosario (Junior at Rainier Beach High School) to rally young people to comment in favor of a bill that would allow school districts to temporarily use local levies while they wait for the state to fully fund education.
Thank you to everyone who helped support the third year 206 Forward has participated in Youth Action Day!