Topics of Advocacy
1. Police Reform
Mentors: Don Cox, former Elementary and Secondary principal, Adjunct Faculty at Santa Clara University & Notre Dame de Namur University, Coach/Mentor for Teachers and Administrators; Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Ed.D. Consultant and Author of Identity Safe Classrooms, Places to Belong and Learn, and Former Director of Not In Our School National Bullying Prevention Program, Former Superintendent, Luther Burbank School District; Susan Charles
The police reform advocacy group will provide students with the opportunity to study the issues that exist with our current models and systems of policing, as well as write and advocate for legislation that would seek to address some of those problems. Some of the solutions we would be working on include independent review boards/CRBs, reallocation of funds towards other sectors, a well-defined force continuum, and other ideas that students may bring to the table. Working alongside other students and adults from organizations at local, state and national levels, students will work to fix our broken policing system and create a reformed and safe future.
2. Prop 16 (Affirmative Action)
Mentors: Eleanor Yick, former Superintendent of Mountain View Whisman School District and current President of the League of Women Voters - Southwest Santa Clara Valley- covering the cities of Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga
The Prop 16 advocacy group gives students the opportunity to learn more about affirmative action: its history and impact. Students will research the issue and advocate for/against the legislation that would change California's Constitution and impact public education and public employment policies and practices. Working alongside peers and adults from many organizations, students will build a framework of arguments for/against Prop 16 and reach out through social media, email, or other platforms to inform citizens about Prop 16’s importance..
3. Environment (Lehigh Cement Plant)
Mentors: Rhoda Fry, Bay Area for Clean Environment member, Cupertino Environmental Review Committee, appointed member emeritus. B. S. Applied Mathematics / Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University, CFO Wm. H. Fry Construction Company
Environmental advocacy is notoriously difficult, but what does it really entail? Join the environment advocacy group for a thorough understanding. By following the case study of Lehigh Cement Plant’s mining operations in the Bay Area, students will learn about the many obstacles to effective advocacy, as well as the different fields that intersect on this topic. This one mining operation will cover public health, global warming, air and water quality, traffic, land use, and labor union concerns. Moreover, the plant’s operations will affect the landscapes and recreational activities of the Bay Area for generations. Mentors will equip students with what's needed to become environmental advocates, including understanding local issues, accessing California environmental data, and what avenues to utilize when pushing for policy change. Take this chance to make a material difference in the Bay Area!
4. COVID-19 Education & Economical Impacts
Mentors: George Yang, Chair of Sister City Committee of Menlo Park; Gopal Kumarappan, Cupertino Parks & Rec Commissioner, former Library Commissioner & Chair, Head of Engineering (Document Cloud) @ Adobe
As schools and businesses look to reopen in the coming weeks and months, issues of public health have remained front and center. The COVID-19 Education and Economics YAPA advocacy group will work to analyze local and national issues regarding the political, economic, and educational effects of the current pandemic on the lives of community members. The group will analyze specific solutions based on the historical precedent and effectiveness of each method, working alongside experienced mentors while maintaining a student-driven approach to advocacy. Subtopics that will be covered in study include, but are not limited to, how to go about economically reopening and providing equitable access to school education in the current situation
5. Healthcare & Equity
Mentors: Ana Sucaldito, MPH, Program Coordinator for Asian Festival Health and Wellness Internship, Founder of KindCarts Service Initiative; Dr. Albert Wang, MD, Internist and Board of Directors at Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, Vice Chair of National Governing Board of Asian Pacific American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), Founder of Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN)
The COVID-19 advocacy group will guide interested students as they research the current political, socioeconomic, and public health crisis we are facing, both on the local and national level, and work to draft specific solutions to some of the issues it has caused. The group will analyze specific solutions based on the historical precedent and effectiveness of each method, working alongside experienced mentors while maintaining a student-driven approach to advocacy. In this group, we will focus on addressing issues of unfair health care access, the disproportionate burden of risk factors on vulnerable groups, and the policies meant to mitigate these disparities.
6. Mental Health
Mentors: Hung Wei, former Board Member of Fremont Union High School District, 2020-2021 Rotary District 5170 Membership Chair; Dr. Clifton Der Bing, licensed psychologist, campus psychologist at Foothill College
With everything changing around us, how can we ensure that our communities maintain wellness? The mental health advocacy group will help students understand how wellness policies are implemented and their effects. Specifically, this group aims to tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on community wellbeing, including but not limited to distance learning quality, maintaining normalcy through extracurriculars, increase in domestic issues, and repercussions of social isolation. Students will discuss the importance of wellness in daily life and draft ideas for specific issues they care about. Ultimately, this group will empower students to bring these proposals to school boards and education committees, positively affecting their communities.