I’ve had the blessed honor of mentoring and interacting with a great number of youth, particularly youth of color, in my last four years of college: Breakthrough Collaborative, SEA Admit Weekend, High School Conference, SASC-SI are some of the highlights. Across my undergraduate career, I’ve interacted with hundreds of young folk only half a decade younger than I. It’s been amazing speaking and working with the inspired and inspiring younger generations about their dreams, goals, and aspirations toward higher education. As somebody who grew up in their shoes and held their entire families on their shoulders, mentoring these youth have been key to my growth and sustainability as an organizer.
However, there’s been a shift in how I must mentor these youth — a saddening reality.
I used to be able to ask questions about their aspirations toward higher education beginning with “what are you passionate about?” or “what do you love to learn?” or “where do you see yourself in five years?”
Now, the reality is that I must begin with “how much do you parents make?” and give them an honest assessment as to whether or not they’ll realistically be able to attend or afford the university in the first place. This is unjust. This is infuriating. It is ridiculous and absurd I must limit their dreams proportional to the size of their wallets.
I have an urgent request for you, my readers. I know I ask a lot of you but I truly believe that you have the power to enact change.
I implore you speak up against tuition hikes and defend education — on my behalf, on these youth’s behalf, on your future’s behalf. There is a UC Regents meeting this coming Monday at 8:30 in the James West Alumni Center and I urge you to mobilize out and advocate. Shuttle up some folks if you aren’t from the area or school and we’ll have lunch after but hell, just showing up to this meeting on an early Monday morning shows that you care enough.
Do what you can if you can’t come out. Educate yourself, reblog a post, talk to a friend. But whatever you do, do not discard this information if you have any hope for our collective futures.
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