On Saturday, February 27, 2016 CAUSE participated in the Arsalyn Youth Conference: Pathways to Participation at California State University, Long Beach. The conference was organized by Student Advocates for Voter Empowerment (SAVE), a student group involved in voter empowerment projects for the community, and Arsalyn Program of Ludwick Family Foundation, a program created to encourage young Americans to become informed and active participants in the electoral process.
CAUSE hosted “Civic Engagement & Community Empowerment” workshops, which educated students to understand how to become politically active to better their community. The workshops were led by Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of CAUSE and Tanya Edmilao, Programs Associate of CAUSE.
A majority of the students expressed their concerns about access to higher education and achieving gender equality. The workshop included a civic engagement exercise to help students to understand the importance of voter participation and how their vote can potentially elect representatives who could address their concerns. More importantly, these exercises empowered the participants to take initiative by addressing their community issues through spreading awareness within their school campus and vocalizing these concerns to their representatives at the local, state, and federal levels. Over 100 students participated in the workshop, and all were inspired to participate in the political process.
To conclude the 2016 Arsalyn Youth Forum students participated in an open discussion with the “Youth Leadership Panel”, where various community leaders educated the participants about their personal approach to civic engagement, as well as opportunities for the students to get involved. The panelists included Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of CAUSE, Councilmember Steven Ly, City of Rosemead, Vice President Cory Ellenson, Glendora Unified School District and candidate for the 48th Assembly District of California, Erinn Lauterbach, 4th Year Student, Masters of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside.
Each panelist shared their personal journal to the civic engagement and political participation, including their professional experience in public service and community organizations that support civic engagement. Students were eager to learn about how they can inspire their peers to become civically engaged. Kim recommended the audience to motivate others by learning about the issues they care for the most and to demonstrate the various ways that students can advocate through political participation.
The conference was a huge success and inspired various students provided to learn about the influence that they can harness through political participation.