Chanting on the Streets of Olympia
Empowered youth ask for change!
By Liz Hernandez, Network Representative
(Senator Kevin Ranker energizes the crowd on the steps of the Capitol. Photo credit: Jerry Davis)
It was just another Friday. Too early, sleep deprived, and most of all anxious. Today had a little bit of a different feel. We were on our way to Olympia to fight for change. Every year during the legislative session The Mockingbird Society goes to Olympia to advocate for different changes they want to see implemented in child welfare systems. This was my first Advocacy Day and I didn't know what to expect.
Our morning started out with set up, inspirational speakers, talking to legislative assitants or legislators, in person!, and that adrenaline rush right before the rally starts. We had five legislators speak right before the rally which included: Rep. Ruth Kagi, Rep. Noel Frame, Sen. Steve O'Ban, Sen. Kevin Ranker, and Rep. Eric Pettigrew. They were all so moving and honestly, they hyped the crowd so much that we had random bystanders watching.
As everyone was chanting around the blocks of Olympia, I thought about how much change we made that day in advocating for the original amount of hope beds (75) instead of the 23 we currently have available, a formal evaluation for the effectiveness of the Mockingbird Family Model and under 18 youth being able to consent to enter their information into HMIS. Overall, Youth Advocacy Day was a captivating event that I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in supporting changes in improving the foster care system and ending youth homelessness, or just really likes rallies.