California Forward’s Young Leaders Advisory Council released its 2022 Call to Action, adding to its vision of an equitable California by encouraging legislators, community leaders, and those who hold power to include the voices of those historically not included at the decision-making table. The Council advances meaningful conversations while urging traditional leaders to expand their ideas about what it means to create an equitable future.
Since its start in 2020, the Council focuses on developing solutions to our most urgent issues, supporting an intergenerational approach to policy development. The Council is made up of members from all around the state, from San Diego to the Bay and growing.
As a member of this group, I cannot help but recognize the sense of optimism that seems to permeate every effort. It is the sort of necessary optimism needed to face the challenges ahead of us. We have been focused on how to make impactful changes to secure the futures we stand to inherit. The members bring unique lived experiences that help inform our approach toward solution-building and collaboration.
We are excited about the opportunity to further the conversation and we recognize that we have a responsibility to take real action if we are to reach the goals that have been set forth locally and statewide. Increasing access to higher education, working toward net-zero emissions, upskilling the current workforce for the future economy, and more require that we all work together, at the same time, supporting the same purpose.
The 2022 Call to Action is inspired by the work the members produced for the 2021 California Economic Summit. It outlines a charge to traditional power holders to partner with young leaders and presents recommendations for issues vital to the prosperity of our generation like criminal justice reform, climate change and education.
During the 2021 Summit, members of the Council had their first opportunity to attend the statewide convening. Now more than ever young people have a vested interest to work through some of the systemic issues facing disadvantaged communities. Our members — facing distinct challenges attending classes, struggling to find employment and, for some, entering the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic — are deeply invested in creating a more sustainable and truly equitable future.
“Young people need to be at the decision-making table because they will be the ones impacted by the decisions being made today,” said Alexander Walker-Griffin, Council member and vice mayor of Hercules, California. “Many are starting their careers and their adult lives. So their voices should always be included to make sound equitable choices.”
To move forward, everyone must be in the conversation. Regardless of age, race or creed, this Call to Action aims to introduce the foundation for the Council’s work to positively impact these discussions and motivate responsible action in advance of the 2022 California Economic Summit. Moving into its third year, the Council is looking to ensure that positive change has accountability tied to the promises of decision-makers. It is imperative that we all take our next course of action seriously and decisively. We do not have the luxury of waiting.
We invite you to read the full 2022 Call to Action here and to join us!
Armando Sepulveda is a second-year member of the CA FWD Young Leaders Advisory Council. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He currently works for a public relations firm based in San Diego and is passionate about transit and environmental policy.