Seeking Student Leaders: Three Ways Young People Can Get Involved In The Political Process

With the level of buzz and horrific timelines that cloud our news recently, people all around the United States are asking themselves what they can do to make a change. For many citizens, this results in a push to visit their local polls and cast their vote on Tuesday, November 6th. For many young people around the country, specifically those under 18, this isn’t a viable option yet. However, young people have a unique and powerful voice within politics and should exercise it with election season underway. Below are some tools and resources for young people seeking to get involved in the political process:

  • Apply to become the Student Representative on the CA Board of Education.

For those interested in getting involved in education, the student representative position on the State Board of Education is now seeking applicants! High school juniors interested in representing the 6.2 million students that currently attend California schools should file a paper application by the October 11th deadline. Unlike many other student board positions, this one is unique in that it provides the student representative with full voting privileges. The most recent student representative, Gema Quetzal, made her entire community proud by taking on such an important position with her unique leadership skills and humility. We need this momentum to continue so that students are the center of the discussions happening in political tables at our state capitol.

  • Pre-register to vote today.

Another important way youth can get involved in the political process this election season is to pre-register to vote. Sixteen and seventeen year olds can now pre-register to vote in California using a quick online form. Once they turn eighteen, their voter registration will become active. Voter pre-registration takes a few minutes and all young people can fill out the quick form using their smartphone or other devices.

  • Walk your neighborhood, get involved in grassroots organizing.

When I was a college freshman, I walked the streets of my hometown for the first time to canvass for two school board candidates I deeply believed in. This experience completely changed the way I viewed political power in the election process and became proof of the power the people hold during elections. Now more than ever, it’s important that all people, especially young people, get involved in their local races and engage one another! Walking door to door to share why I was particularly excited about a candidate and convincing others of these reasons became one of the most formative political experiences I had as a young leader in my community. Whether it’s applying to be the Student Representative on the California State Board of Education, or canvassing a few blocks around your neighborhood on a Saturday morning with friends, let’s all take that first step and get involved!

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Daniela Felix

Daniela Felix

Daniela is a first generation college student who is heavily involved in education in her home district, West Contra Costa Unified. After becoming a mother at a young age, Daniela’s passion for education justice only intensified and she began to fight for an equitable education for all children, regardless of background or zip code. Daniela played a key role in organizing parents with the California Charter Schools Association and is a firm believer in school choice for all families. She is currently a Lead Organizer with Students for Education Reform, organizing college students around education justice issues in her home district. She was recently accepted into Teach for America and plans to continue impacting the lives of children in her hometown of Richmond, CA as a high school social studies teacher. Daniela is a UC Berkeley senior pursuing her B.A. in Legal Studies and Education along with her 4 year old daughter and husband. Daniela is a firm believer in that every single child is capable of meeting high expectations if given the correct support. Daniela hopes to be a provider of that support.

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