UPDATE: Deadline extended to Friday, June 18th
Please join us in raising $25,000 for New Voices Are Rising‘s virtual 2021 Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy!
Our names are Andrea and Qin. We are 3rd years at UCLA, and also the Youth Co-Coordinators for New Voices Are Rising’s 2021 Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy.
We would like to share our own environmental justice journeys with you, and ask you to support New Voices’ Summer Academy students on their journeys.
Here is what the New Voices campaign theme – Connect. Learn. Act. Lead. – means to us:
I first started with New Voices in 2017. During my time as an intern and then Summer Academy POD (Peers on Duty) Leader, New Voices showed me how to build connections with people in ways that I had never thought of before. I learned new strategies to engage with my peers, and learned how to seek out opportunities to get involved in environmental justice. After these experiences, I was able to come back as the summer Youth Co-Coordinator in 2020. This summer was also New Voices’ first time doing the Academy as a virtual program. I realized that not everyone connects in the same way – especially over the internet – and that we needed to adapt the program to meet everyone where they are at. This allowed me to bring out my creative side when it came to conveying our content, whether it was through a fun animation or a solar energy lesson disguised as a s’mores making activity.
When I first heard about New Voices, I had no idea that it would become such an important and fulfilling space in my life. Thanks to my time in the Environmental Science Academy at Oakland High, I felt comfortable transitioning to learning about environmental justice in New Voices’ Summer Academy. But that was not always the case for other New Voices students. For some, it came as a surprise that environmental injustices were so prevalent where they lived and that resources were purposefully restricted for people of color and low-income communities. In New Voices, we start learning from the origins of environmental justice to motivate us to find equitable solutions to act on. I am personally motivated to give all that I have learned as an Environmental Science student at UCLA and all that I have experienced firsthand as an Oakland resident to the new students in the Summer Academy. I believe in them to continue the work of correcting the injustices in our societal institutions.
You probably would not recognize me if you saw me as a New Voices intern in 2017. I was pretty shy and quiet, and I did not yet know my full potential. Being in the New Voices program taught me that I was given a voice for a reason, and I was able to use that voice to speak up and act on any type of injustice. Now, as someone whose job it is to teach our new New Voices students those same things, I no longer feel shy or quiet – I want youth today to know that there is no reason to be. It is through our connections and shared knowledge that we gain the power to make real change in our communities.
Similar to Andrea, it took a while for me to open up and speak up in front of others. Being in a leadership role as a Summer Academy POD Leader last year confirmed that I had the strength to lead others in learning and influencing their actions. Realizing that a leader can be both a public figure and someone who is working on the back-end to organize environmental justice events and projects was super exciting to me! There is a balance we keep at New Voices, to guide the high schoolers just enough to encourage them to learn and present their knowledge and experiences on their own. In this manner, we can build strong bonds in our own small community by getting to know each other’s personal stories and motivations. New Voices is unique in that we are empathetic and acknowledge the lived experiences that come with pushing policies and legislation to improve our communities.
In the New Voices program, students build strong bonds and deep trust with one another. And they have fun with each other! Above, 2020 Summer Academy students, POD Leaders, and staff take a silly photo as a break in their day of building youth power.
In New Voices, everyone brings something to the table. When New Voices youth work together, we are able to use our collective power to fight for and achieve change. This summer, we are taking advantage of our virtual format to expand the Academy beyond Oakland to other frontline communities in the Bay Area, including Richmond, Vallejo, and Bayview-Hunters Point.
We can’t wait to meet all 30 students and bring different
perspectives together under a common vision for
justice, equity, and health for ALL of our communities!
Each week of our Academy, the students will learn about a different climate justice theme — from air pollution, to food justice, to energy. Their learning will be brought to life through rich and engaging activities, including hands-on experiments, virtual tours, discussions with guest speakers, and externships with partner organizations in their communities. We will also host two special events – the Youth Poetry Slam and Community Summit – where our 30 youth leaders will share their voices, stories, and learnings with our community. Through these experiences and more, New Voices youth from across the Bay Area will enjoy a summer of connecting, learning, acting, and leading for a climate just future!
Please donate today to support our 2021 Summer Academy
and our 30 youth leaders!
The Summer Academy relies on financial support from the community to make the program a success. That’s why New Voices launched a “Crowdfund” fundraising campaign to raise $25,000 by June 11th. And the two of us have joined together as a Crowdfunder team to help raise the needed funds.
Go to the main Crowdfund page to donate to the general campaign, or scroll down from there to donate to any of the 10+ Crowdfunders! (If you are looking for us, we are the “Andrea and Qin” team.
New Voices Are Rising helped us find our voices. Please donate to the Crowdfund to help youth from frontline communities across the Bay Area find their voices, and grow a powerful youth-led movement for climate justice.
P.S. We need your support to ensure a successful 2021 Summer Academy! Donate to New Voices today at www.rosefdn.org/BuildYouthPower. Thank you!