In My Own Words: Visiting the State Capitol

From August 21 to August 25, 2015, about 20 youth and 4 mentors from City Heights attended the Sisters and Brothers at the Capitol Advocacy Days up in Sacramento, California. The annual trip is a part of Building Healthy Communities, a 10-year, $1 million initiative to change the way that health happens in California. Mid-City CAN Youth Council members were vocal advocates for gender and racial-justice issues.  This year’s theme was “Free Our Dreams.” Jose Ortega, a 17-year-old student from San Diego High School, was one of the youth on the trip. This is his experience on his first interaction with California’s political system.

By Jose Ortega

“I just recently went to Sacramento, California with Mid-City Community Advocacy Network. In a wrap, the trip was an amazing experience to both learn and grow as a person.

I decided to go on the trip because personally, it sounded like fun to leave San Diego for a weekend and also get to know people and possibly get to know politically influential people here for California.

The trip up there was in itself and experience. It lasted 14 hours, so we got to Sacramento at 3am and we had to get up at 6 in the morning. The hardest part of the trip was actually staying awake the first day we were there, but other than that everything else came pretty naturally.

The best part of the trip was just the experience completely. Getting to know more and more people was amazing. Everybody there wanted change. All the communities that appeared there at the Capital building wanted something to change to benefit their communities but not knowing would affect all of California.

On this trip I learned that it takes a lot more people to pass bills and I also learned that there are 2 types of bills, Senate and Assembly Bills. While I was there I visited three people and talked to their staff. I spoke with Assembly member Atkins, Pro temp De Leon, And Governor Brown. Although we did not speak with them and spoke to their staff and advisors but it was still a wonderful learning experience.”

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