Elev8 Chicago - Ames Students Bring their Concerns to the State Capitol
On March 23, two busloads of students, drawn from five Elev8 Chicago schools, traveled to Springfield, IL, to share their policy concerns and priorities with state lawmakers, focusing much of their time on issues related to community safety.
Delegations from each school went to see senators and representatives from their respective districts. Four young men from Reavis Elementary School had a long talk with Senator Kwame Raoul, covering such topics as neighborhood safety, basketball, and the Trayvon Martin case. Students from Perspectives-Calumet Middle School and Marquette Elementary School took photos with Senator Jackie Collins, who asked the students questions about their lives, school and favorite subjects. And ten girls from Orozco Community Academy met briefly with Senator Antonio Munoz, about the work that the girls have been doing related to safety in their school and community. Students also spoke briefly with Senator Steans and Representatives Kenneth Dunkin and Cynthia Soto. Finally, students from Ames Middle School had a lengthy meeting with Senator Martin Sandoval, who invited them into his office and discussed the path he took to become a senator. He told the students that education is the best way to be successful and encouraged them to ask questions about his life and work. The students shared their concerns about their community and even got a private tour of the Senate floor - where, as the Senator said to them, "you can someday be sitting."
Elev8 Chicago and the Mikva Challenge are planning another advocacy trip later this month-this time to Washington, DC. The trip will bring together youth from Elev8 programs in Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland and New Mexico to share their concerns and recommendations with federal policymakers, building on local- and state-level advocacy they have engaged in throughout the year