Real Change Starts Within Ourselves
We took the summer off but as a part of our back to school efforts, @action will be restarting our Champions of Change series where we work with our partners in media and civil society to profile young people doing extraordinary things in their communities.
To kick off we will be hearing from Leonardo Serrano from Los Angeles School of Global Studies, who participated in Civic Action Project a program of Constitutional Rights Foundation.
Growing up in Mexico as a Mexican-American Citizen was not easy but it offered me the opportunity to witness the struggles people suffer in both countries. Once back where I was born, LA, I realized that even I, a student who barely knew English, could take action. I’m one example that no matter what situation you are in, you can make a difference.
In January I became homeless, struggling with my job, school, and my living situation. When Civic Action Project (CAP) started, I saw a valuable opportunity to be the voice not only for myself but for the growing homeless community of LA.
I first took the initiative to persuade the senior class with my personal experience to choose the topic of homelessness for our CAP. Most seniors from Los Angeles School of Global Studies concentrated their efforts researching policies in two areas: the first, policies that criminalize the homeless community, and the second, proposals to increase access to affordable housing, shelters, and services.
At the end of the project we produced T-shirts to support our action, PSAs, a press conference in front of LA City Hall that was recorded by two local TV stations, and ultimately we delivered concise speeches to the council members. All of this to support, change, or eliminate different policies in the city of LA.
Thanks to this project my peers and I have the basic knowledge to keep striving for positive change anywhere we go. Real change starts within ourselves, we have control over what we do and when. Nobody can tell us or decide for us when we want change or when to take action. For anyone who wants change but does not have the courage to do so I would like to say, don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help. Even if the first few discourage you, keep going you will find someone who will help.