New Voices Are Rising seeks to increase civic participation within under-represented communities, increase young people’s commitment to environmental justice, and reduce air and water pollution that severely impact both human health and the health of the San Francisco Bay. The program helps young people gain the skills and experience in civic engagement that they need to begin to tackle the problems — including environmental health problems — that disproportionately impact their communities.
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The Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy (Summer Academy) is a six-week long program where high school-aged youth take a deep dive into local environmental justice issues, building their leadership, advocacy, and organizing skills along the way.
The curriculum leverages the lived experience and local knowledge of youth participants with hands-on instruction. We connect youth with community-based organizations, help students identify projects and champion their efforts as they build power from the ground up. Learn more about the Summer Academy here.
Students from the Summer Academy are recruited to become New Voices Are Rising Fellows during the school year, giving them the opportunity to pursue environmental justice work in greater depth. The students use the skills they learned and the leadership potential they developed, applying it to community capacity building and outreach projects with New Voices and program partners focused on reducing toxic exposure, addressing climate change, and increasing competency in low-income communities and communities of color to meaningfully engage in environmental decision-making.
Watch the 22′ – 23′ Fellowship Summit Presentations!
See all the cool projects our NVR students worked on during the school year fellowship. From systemic racism to air quality justice and housing, these presentations showcase the environmental justice topics most important to our frontline youth.
Last Fall, we introduced our first-ever Youth Air Quality Task Force. Over six weeks, New Voices students created media projects focused on air quality, associated health risks, and utility advocacy. The task force offered students an opportunity to discover the aspects of clean-air advocacy that are most important to them, and to educate and engage their communities in this work. Learn more about this exciting new project.
What’s New with New Voices
Many of our New Voices Are Rising youth come from vaccine hesitant communities. The program received funding from the US EPA to increase outreach and conversations around COVID-19. For the past few weeks of the fellowship program, NVR youth have developed TikToks that creatively dispel vaccination myths using evidence based research, and of course, humor.
On Tuesday, our NVR Fellows joined a public hearing to testify against the proposed PG&E rate hike. This public process gave community members space to scrutinize PG&E’s plan and to consider alternatives. All of our seven fellows made a statement at the hearing. Learn more about PG&E’s history of putting profit before people as well as what our students had to say about it.
Every year, students from the Summer Academy are recruited to become New Voices Are Rising Fellows during the school year, giving them the opportunity to pursue environmental justice work in greater depth. The students use the skills they learned and the leadership potential they developed, applying it to community capacity-building and outreach projects called “externships” with New Voices and program partners. Each externship focus is different ranging from air quality management and climate resiliency, to media and communications.
Mykela Patton is returning to the Rose Foundation as our New Voices Are Rising Program Manager. She joined…
The tools we use for interaction, engagement, and education change from generation to generation. From textbooks to online learning, the way we present and consume information is constantly in flux. Our New Voices youth exemplify this trend, choosing to use video as a platform to share what they have learned in the Rose Foundation’s environmental justice leadership program. Our students’ work exemplifies the creative ways we can use technology to educate and engage younger generations.
Thank you to our agency and foundation supporters:
Austin and Lauren Fite Foundation
Landray/MacLane Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation