Posted on March 18, 2015.
Looking across the messages scrawled across the Fight Apathy posters in their hands it was easy to see how the members of the DC JSA staff came to find themselves dedicated to the cause of getting students involved in public life; each started from deeply felt commitment to the causes they held in their hands and to the idea that it was important for our public discourse to start conversations about those commitments.
Beliefs spanned the political spectrum and ranged from perpetually unachieved goals such as “Equal Pay For Equal Work” and “DC Statehood” to those with momentum such as “Marriage Equality” and to the politically unlikely such as “Flat Taxation”, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, and “Gun Control.”
Andy Clark, the Program Director for the Ohio River Valley and Midwest States and a recent candidate for his Advisory Neighborhood Commission this last November said he supported DC Statehood because “More people live here than in two other states. When our nation goes to war young people from DC who might be in harms way have no voice in our government.”
Even after the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act and a half-century after the start of the modern Women’s Movement women still earn less than men do for the same work. Elizabeth Ventura, the Mid-Atlantic State Program Director, said that she “Believes in Equal Pay for Equal Work” because it’s basic fairness and something unfinished in our society.
Larry Guillemette advocated for a Flat Tax as a matter of fairness. He discussed the way in which people pay income taxes on their earnings, then sales taxes when they spend those earnings, and in many states, estate taxes on the previously taxed money after a lifetime of saving. A flat tax and scrapping multiple levels of taxation would lower the burden on working people and be a fairer way to pay taxes he said.
An immigrant from Sierra Leone herself, Winstina Hughes explained how difficult the immigration system could be, especially for students, who might not be able to stay in the country after completing their studies, or who might be barred from gaining permanent residency or returning if they over-stayed student visas even briefly. If our nation adopts comprehensive immigration reform then at the very least, our society might better hold on to immigrant students whose drive and education contribute so much to our society.
Fight Apathy is about starting conversations about what we believe in so that we can engage in conversations, share ideas, and realize that each and every one of us cares deeply about something, and that something is worth advocating and voting for.
Posted in Be Inspired
Posted on March 17, 2015.
For 24 years, the Junior State of America has partnered with the Office of Insular Affairs at the US Department of the Interior to serve students from the US Territories and Freely Associated States. During a trip this February to participate in the Annual JSA Winter Congress Legislative Simulation, JSA had the privilege of sharing our nation’s capital and all its excitement with 14 of the students supported by this partnership.
Posted in Be Inspired, Featured, JSA Today, MyJSA, News, Students, Uncategorized
Posted on October 7, 2014.
Underserved students from marginalized communities are likely to be the most politically disaffected and disempowered voters in our electorate; voting at some of the lowest rates for any demographic in the country. Compton JSA students are showing all of us that demography is not destiny. Compton Unified School Board President and JSA Alumnus Micah Ali highlights the impact of JSA participation on the lives of students in three high schools in his district. If you want to see JSA students win the battle against political apathy read Ali’s entire post here.
Posted in Be Inspired, News
Posted on September 26, 2014.
Around the globe, 166 countries played host to 2,808 solidarity events. In the United States, over 100 world leaders gathered in New York City, all united for the cause of the People’s Climate March, held on Sunday, September 21st . According to its organizers, this was the largest climate rally ever. Over 400,000 demonstrators took to the streets in New York to urge policy makers to take necessary actions against climate change. The marchers, including several JSA activists, flood the streets of Manhattan with drumbeats, chants, and optimism. Signs for several causes were held by demonstrators, representing a variety of environmental issues, from clean water initiatives to anti-fracking protests.
Despite the differing reasons that the marchers had, all agreed that something had to be done about the rising global temperatures and sea waters. People around the globe joined in, as thousands more protesters marched in London, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Berlin, New Delhi, Johannesburg, Laos, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Melbourne.
Back in New York City, the movement gained high profile supporters, including several celebrities and politicians. Leonardo DiCaprio, Evangeline Lilly, Jane Goodall, former Vice President Al Gore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and UN Secretary General Bank Ki Moon all blazed the trail through Midtown. The march came just two days before 120 world leaders and officials descended on New York City for a United Nations climate change summit, where countries worked toward reaching another international climate change accord to be effective in 2020.
The mission of the march, like the Junior State of America, is to strengthen the voice of the people in a democracy. The People’s Climate March challenged global leaders to take the environment seriously, rise above self-interest, and to promote the public good.
Written by YuYan Pu
Posted in Be Inspired, JSA Today, News