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Make the Road Nevada’s Youth Power Project is demanding clean water from the Clark County School District through their newest campaign, Water Access For All

Youth Justice Organizer, Kathia Sotelo-Calderon and YPP members are fighting for equitable access to clean water, highlighting the risks of water-related health concerns; some of these risks include diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis A. According to their latest statement, with poor water quality, attendance and student health are at high risk of decline.

“As a student, it frustrates and scares me that millions of youth in the United States are impacted by lead poisoning,” said high school student and YPP fellow, Mia Albright. “Lower income regions are disproportionately impacted, as well. We deserve better.”

In effort to uplift their message, the YPP dedicated their Art in Action Night on March 22nd, 2022 to Water Access For All and World Water Day, encouraging students to raise clean water awareness through painting. Their efforts don’t stop there, though—they’re taking Water Access For All on a more musical scale next month.

On April 1st, 2022, the YPP will be attending singer-songwriter Billie Eilish’s Las Vegas concert to spread awareness and recruit potential YPP members. The youth group will be handing out pledge cards and stickers in honor of their Water Access For All campaign.

Want to learn more about the importance of clean water in schools? Please visit https://www.yourethecure.org/water-access and contact our Youth Justice Organizer, Kathia Sotelo-Calderon today.

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Are you 14-21, living in Nevada? Do you care about the issues in your community? Do you want to make a difference? If so, join the Youth Power Project! Visit the following link today: bit.ly/artnightypp

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Catch the latest Youth Power Project updates by following them on @youthpowerprojectnv on Tiktok and Instagram, and on twitter @YPPNV!

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The Youth Power Project and its members hosted an Art Night in Action these past few weeks.

They met on January 11,13,18, and 20 at the Make the Road office, 4250 Bonanza Rd. Suite 20. The purpose of these events is to remind the Las Vegas Youth of the immense power they own, and to continue the fight and empower new young leaders as they grow.

“YPP members joined together to paint their movement for International Education Day on January 24th. This was a lot of fun and empowering activity,” said Kathia Sotelo, Youth Power Project’s youth organizer.

The groups of young individuals came together and decorated t-shirts, jeans, and tote bags to raise awareness of the issues with education. Those issues include: banning pepper spray usage in schools, removing officers from schools, replacing them with mental health professionals, ensuring all students have access to a water bottle filling station in each school, and much more. They instilled positive messages in their tote bags to highlight their voices for change.

Eden Abebe, a youth power member, shared her experience. “Art in Action allowed me to express my passion for educational justice through a new lens. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to use our creativity to communicate critical issues!”

The Youth Power Project always welcomes new members to join in the fight for educational justice. In April 2019, over 90 youth leaders traveled from Las Vegas to Carson City to speak with their elected officials at the state capital. And hand them a letter on the critical issues that impact their daily lives. Not to mention they launched an educational justice campaign; this has resulted in standing meetings with the Superintendent of Clark County—the fifth-largest school district in America!

The Youth Power Project meets virtually every Thursday at 5pm. To volunteer or join the Youth Power Project, email our youth organizer, kathia.sotelo@maketheroadnv.org for any questions.

 

 

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We want to congratulate these young people who have joined UNLV’s student government this semester as they embark on their journeys to create a more inclusive campus. 

Young People, when informed and empowered, 

when they realize that what they do truly make 

a difference, can indeed change the world.” 

-Jane Goodall

 

Many young people are inclined to think they do not have a voice. There’s a saying that those who don’t have a voice are spoken for by someone else, mostly someone who has power. 

 

“Every single person, every individual HAS a voice, but they aren’t being heard or listened to,” says Maryam Raja, a first-generation American and Hijabi Muslim who was elected Senator for UNLV’s student government this fall semester.

 

She believes, and she knows how vital a diverse community is and how neglected their opinions and ideas are. She hopes to change the narrative that there are people without voices, all of us have voices, and we have the will and power to make a change, no matter the background one may come from. By being part of the student body, she feels she can reflect the change for all students. Instead of using her position to expand her resume for herself, her reasons to be active in the student body are to solve issues with student leaders and be a representative of the diverse student body. Maryam knows people can take a step forward in their community to make the changes they want to see. Some of the changes Maryam has considered taking the initiative on are menstrual inequity, helping those with trouble obtaining feminine hygiene products. She also plans to implement a transportation waiver system that will allow students to commute to and from campus, relieving them from financial issues. Another plan is to create a support system for students affected by the pandemic through a workshop.

 

Another young student, Abraham Lugo, Vice President of UNLV’s student government, a DACA recipient, who is bisexual, has stated he will never forget where he came from and has accomplished having undocumented students be seen. 

“No matter what I do, or position I am in, or who I’m advocating for, it makes it impossible for me as a representative, as a person, to forget who I am.”

In this generation of labels, Abraham thanks his parents, for giving him the morals he has today. For him, it has been a struggle with all of the barriers that being an immigrant but he has never considered as a block in his path. Abraham took notice of how there were no scholarships for undocumented students. So he took the initiative to write legislation, and now there are scholarships for undocumented individuals at UNLV. 

 

Both of these fantastic young people of color will continue to remember their roots and use their identities as tools to bring the community together. Their voices and the need to make changes for the student body will lead them to do far greater things for the future.

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Thursday, August 19, 2021, | The Youth Power Project and partners took to the streets to continue demanding of the Clark County School District to reallocate funds from the CCSDPD back into the education of our students and the hiring of mental health professionals, counselors, school nurses, and college advisors who are in desperate need on our campuses. At the action, we heard heartbreaking testimonies from both folks present, and those who unfortunately live in fear on account of police presence on their campuses.

Our young people have drafted a plan for the reallocation of funds, but the School District has ignored them and their suggestions even when they attend board meetings. Our young folks are met with racist, xenophobic, homophobic, hecklers at board meetings and on top of being exposed to this hatred, they are pushed to the very limit of the meeting, if they are ever acknowledged by the board at all. Although they have been unable to be heard at board meetings, they are regaining control with the help of their community and parents.

These young folks are our future and they are shaping it to their liking.

Our role as adults, their allies, is to listen to them, to push them forward when they are pushed back, and to help amplify their voices loud enough so that those in power can’t ignore them. Join the youth in their efforts to shape the future of their education, not only for themselves but for every student who comes after them. Join the fight to create a better educational experience for your own children. 

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Here comes August, the month where we gather our children and send them back to school. After last school year where virtual learning brought many struggles for students and parents alike, many families might be happy to finally be able to return to in-person learning. This school year, however, isn’t like other years. Our children are returning to classes during a global pandemic, and we want to ensure that our community stays safe. 

 

The Clark County School District (CCSD) has released a parent guide to help parents be able to check their students before sending them to school in an effort to keep all of our children safe! We encourage you all to make sure your child feels well before sending them to school. In the parent guide, they included 5 questions to ask your child EVERY DAY BEFORE SENDING THEM TO SCHOOL. These questions range in identifying symptoms and having tested positive in the past 10 days with COVID-19. Please pay close attention to your child during the school year so as to ensure that our community and our children stay healthy.

                                               

If your child is 12 years old or older they are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Let’s be clear, our children come first. With this in mind, let’s keep our children and others safe as we all are valuable members of the community. For more information on vaccination locations visit: https://www.immunizenevada.org/find-vaccine-clinics 

 

We wish all our scholars returning to classes this semester and school year a very prosperous year and a very passionate good luck from all of us here at Make the Road NV. 

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The Youth Power Project is a group of politically active youth who fight for issues that impact youth in our state. It is youth led and youth organized, given this they are the best voices to speak out about anything educational justice. Currently, they have been joining forces with other youth leaders across the state to make their demands of a diverse education a reality. 

 

Our children have the right to an education. The education should consist of a broad spectrum of topics that discuss the contributions and history of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities. Unfortunately, this is not the education our students are receiving. The education they receive is hyperfocused on the White influences, White figures, and if the topic of BIPOC communities is discussed the conversation is about the oppressions and injustices they have experienced. A state-wide fight is underway being led by the youth of our state from different counties to mandate an inclusive education model that discusses the contributions of and the importance of BIPOC figures. In educating our children about courageous people they can identify with. We open the doors to bigger dreams in our students, higher achievements, and a potential increase in the interest of students in school. 

 

We all want to be represented. Our students want to be able to see themselves in their textbooks and learn about their heritages without having to dig so deep into history. MRNV’s Youth Power Project has taken on the challenge to change this frame of education that too often bypasses the stories of BIPOC folk. Their work has just begun, but their power is undeniable.

 

To learn more about the Youth Power Project visit oue werbsite here.

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Superintendent Jara has a conversation with Latinx families.

Our members had the opportunity to meet with Superintendent Jara this week and the topics covered are important to know. Here’s the run-down on the topics covered and the answers our community deserves. 

Family Support during this time is crucial to a successful school year. To do this, however, our families need support and for that, we’ve got some resources provided by the Superintendent. If you are struggling with internet connectivity or are in need of devices for your scholars, please know there is help. This link is where you can go to get the electronic help you need;  https://connectingkidsnv.org/

If you’re experiencing difficulties with your school-issued Chromebook, please contact your child’s school to make an exchange.

Special Education recipient families, please contact your child’s school to schedule a meeting to discuss your child’s education plan for this remote learning period. 

If a member of your family or your child contracts COVID-19 please communicate with your child’s teacher and remain in contact with them to ensure your student has everything they need to complete their work. Also, accommodations in the form of make-up work will be available from your child’s teacher. Again, please be open and communicate with your child’s teacher. 

Our Spanish speaking community will not be left behind this year. Teachers will be working with our families to ensure that instructions are clear and translated for our families to promote the help of families during this school year. ELL students will also be accommodated this year through private sessions with their teachers. 

Some students will be in need of credit recovery. In order to ensure the completion of their credits will attend ‘Saturday School’. Please contact your child’s school for details and for any questions. 

The bottom line familia, it takes a village to educate and prepare students for life. For this reason, we want to bring you as many resources as possible. Our website has many resources for our community. Please check out our resources here.

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A TRUE SOCIAL JUSTICE SPACE

On July 31st, The Youth Power Project (YPP) hosted Gen Z VoiceZ, an open-mic Facebook Live event where youth between 14-21 showcased their talents in an empowering way.

The night featured energetic performances that shared, expressed, and set the tone for the night. The performances varied from singing, dancing, and different variations of poetry.

 

“I am here talking to you today because I am appalled by the countless black lives that have been taken at the hands of police brutality in this country that claims to be equal and free,” said YPP member Amy Chen during her spoken performance. She also mentioned the names and stories of Black Americans killed by U.S. police, including the recent tragic shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was shot 22 times while she was at home sleeping. 

 

The show demonstrated the impact that these terrible events have on our youth and how Generation Z is refusing to sit back and not voice their concerns. The open mic served as an excellent avenue to let their voices resonate in the fight for social justice.

 

Not only was this event fun and informative, but it was a statement about how our youth holds an enormous amount of resilience and power. It was a refreshing experience to see so much hope and positivity. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about YPP or become a member of YPP, please visit our website at: http://bit.ly/MRNVypp

 

Watch the full live event here: https://bit.ly/2DlYPPVOICEZ

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Make the Road NV and school personnel joined the Youth Power Project leaders as they gathered in front of Desert Pines High School to combat the school-to-prison pipeline and call for the defunding of the Clark County School District Police Department. Angelica who is part of support staff in an elementary school, her role is to give support to predominantly black and brown elementary students. She recalls some deeply upsetting encounters, like a kid whose father was in jail, and a school assignment he wrote, which was about his biggest wish to see his father again.“In the back of his paper, he drew a picture of himself sitting down having a meal with his Dad. Unfortunately, this is another sad reality expressed by my students, many of them are growing up with their fathers in jail. Sometimes our presence alone represents that stable adult in their lives.”

 

That is exactly why we are promoting to defund the school police, to break the cycle of minority kids getting into trouble with the law due to school police and not having a stable relationship with their family in the future.

 

 Adam Allen a former Youth Power Project council member recalled being at school and feeling like he was in prison due to all the police surrounding the courtyard. That is why we must all keep fighting for a police free learning environment and higher investment in school counselors, nurses, and social workers. #DefundSchoolPoliceCCSD #PoliceFreeSchools

 

Sign your name to our petition to keep our kids in a safe place where they have access to restorative justice, counselors, nurses, and mental health resources and do not have the constant fear of being criminalized and put on the school-to-prison/deportation pipeline by school police. 

 

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Make The Road Youth Leaders had a big week last week! We were part of a week of actions to Welcome Back Congress to remind them that they work for us, and that there is still a lot of work to do for our communities. Many organizations threw down for the days of action on immigrant justice and to re-think safety.  We had four Youth Leaders from our Youth Power Project attend this week of Action.

The Youth Leaders spoke with members of Congress to talk about immigration issues, to share their stories, and to talk to them about the #Not1dollar campaign, a campaign where no one should be allowed to profit off of the pain and suffering of migrant children and their families. But that’s exactly what’s happening at the border under the Trump administration’s horrific and racist immigration policies… There’s still a lot of work left to do, but Make the Road Nevada and the Youth Power Project are up for the challenge, and won’t stop until we see justice!

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Youth Power Project, join us for our weekly meetings at 4250 E. Bonanza Road, Suite 14, from 4pm to 6pm!

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