Students participate in African American Legislative Day

Students participate in African American Legislative Day

The event hopes to encourage youth to put their voices down on paper.

The Capitol building in Olympia was nearly at capacity with youth from various school districts around the state for African American Legislative Day on Monday.

The purpose, Federal Way Council member Jesse Johnson said, was to get the youth engaged with their local community, learn more about African-American history, and learn how they can be involved with issues such as homelessness.

During a poster-making session in the House rules room on the bottom floor of the capitol, middle and high school students focused on important, controversial issues impacting the community today such as Black Lives Matter.

One chant the youth made to go along with their posters was “Young Black Lives Matter.” Another was “Stop the selfishness, help end homelessness.”

Johnson said more than a day to reflect on African-American history and meet with state legislators, it was a day to learn how they can help combat issues like these in their community, even if those issues don’t affect them personally.

Homelessness is a controversial issue in Federal Way, and the impact on youth is enormous. Johnson said of the number of homeless youth in Federal Way, 80 percent of them are youth of color.

A member of the Federal Way Youth Action Team, Bobby Jennings brought his children to the event to help inform and encourage them to participate in important policy and civil rights discussions.

“… Teach them to utilize their voice for policy and affect change,” Jennings said.

Gabrielle Prawl, creative and art director for the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) Seattle, had a large hand in helping setting this up for the youth, Johnson said.

Prawl said this year the goal was to help youth put their voice down on paper, which is what they worked on during the poster-making session.

Since the theme was “Build-A-Bill,” she said, they asked youth what they saw as problems and what potential solutions were.

“These were later presented to the Lt. Governor and we will follow up with the youth with instruction on sending their ideas to their legislators,” she said.

Prawl said youth advocacy has always been very important to her.

“They truly get into it and are very honest about what they feel needs to be fixed.” she said. “It can be extremely difficult for adults to even get to the table of discussion on big issues but our youth tend to think of it in much simpler terms – this is not working so let’s do this instead. We wanted to encourage that freedom to voice and take action.”

During the event, Prawl said one of the most touching things she experienced was a group of young girls who asked her how to continue the homeless discussion.

They themselves had been homeless and they wanted their peers to have a deeper understanding of it, she said.

“This young lady said, ‘I want people to know it’s OK to be homeless and you can get out of it,’” Prawl said.

That was really powerful for her to experience, and she said wisdom like this might continue to go unnoticed if important discussions continue to exclude youth.

APRI Seattle works with numerous organizations that align with the vision of social justice for a working people, Prawl said.

African American Legislative Day is a joint partnership between the APRI organization and the Washington State Christian Leadership Coalition. Each year organizations come from greater Seattle, Pierce County and as far out as Spokane, she said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

Students participate in African American Legislative Day
Students participate in African American Legislative Day
Students participate in African American Legislative Day
During African American Legislative Day, the youth made their own posters to bring attention to local community issues such as Black Lives Matter and homelessness. Photo courtesy of Jesse Johnson

During African American Legislative Day, the youth made their own posters to bring attention to local community issues such as Black Lives Matter and homelessness. Photo courtesy of Jesse Johnson

This year, African American Legislative Day aimed to engage youth in prevalent community issues and show them how they can be an advocate for policy change. Photo courtesy of Jesse Johnson

This year, African American Legislative Day aimed to engage youth in prevalent community issues and show them how they can be an advocate for policy change. Photo courtesy of Jesse Johnson

More in News

t
Federal Way man charged with murder for shooting at Kent bus stop

Father killed Nov. 26, 2021 at location where his sons were shot, injured 2 days earlier

tsr
Federal Way doctor settles with Department of Justice over allegations of ‘useless’ urine drug tests

The doctor allegedly billed government health programs for urine drug test that were never tested or tested too late to be useful, according to the DOJ.

File photo
County auditor finds agencies fall short on emergency services

The auditor’s office recommends clarifying responsibilities and accountability for effective planning.

tsr
Blueprint for building community: How the redevelopment of Federal Way’s downtown shapes the future

City planners to present vision for redeveloping Federal Way’s downtown corridor at Jan. 18 special meeting.

The Enumclaw library is passing out free at-home rapid COVID tests. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
8 King County libraries passing out at-home rapid COVID tests

Supply is limited; patrons are asked to limit themselves to two tests per household.

During a news conference Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains the deployment of the National Guard to hospitals to assist with the coronavirus surge. (TVW) 20220113
Surgeries paused, National Guard deployed to assist hospitals

King County health officials say 1 in 7 ICU and acute-care hospital beds are occupied by a COVID patient.

tsr
Federal Way police are now wearing body cameras

The goal is to have all uniformed personnel wearing body cameras by Feb. 1, department officials say.

Credit: Pixabay
Prosecutor alleges Seattle man recorded Muckleshoot Casino employee using toilet

Man pleads not guilty to first-degree voyeurism charge in December 2021 incident at Auburn casino

Screenshot from City of Kent Facebook Page
Trash piles up in King County neighborhoods after agency postpones service for weeks

Collection company initially cited weather as the reason, but now a strike interferes.

Most Read