Moving to Action: How the Young Leaders Advisory Council is Working to Inspire Change

1024 576 Young Leaders Advisory Council

By YLAC Member Grace Ochs

CA FWD’s Young Leaders Advisory Council (YLAC) is committed to creating a better California for all by pursuing advocacy and education efforts on climate resilience, educational equity, housing access, digital equity, and more.

Young people are stepping up to address the most pressing and urgent issues of our time. From extreme weather events, polarized communities, poverty, and uncertainty about our own ability to afford housing, YLAC is committed to creating a better California for all through policy advocacy and education.

Combined with our policy priorities outlined in the 2024 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, YLAC has released our 2024 Call to Action. The Call to Action illustrates YLAC’s vision for the future and pinpoints the most urgent and actionable issues: climate resilience, educational equity, housing access, and digital equity. YLAC advocates for specific policy solutions to drive meaningful change on these issues and the Call to Action serves as a starting place for YLAC to begin working on advocacy and education efforts throughout our communities. With the help of CA FWD, we hope to lead advocacy efforts, engage other youth organizations on these topics, and work with policymakers to uplift the youth perspective.

With our Call to Action, we urge state leaders, legislators, and those with decision-making power to support inclusive solution development. We are calling on these leaders to lift up, consider, and advance the following policy recommendations.

Climate Resilience Priorities

As young people, we have witnessed a rapidly changing climate and will bear the brunt of climate change throughout our lifetimes. We call on leaders to enact policies that prioritize clean and multimodal transportation options, divest from fossil fuel companies, and include youth and young adult voices in decision making. It is critical that leaders today invest in the health and safety of future generations. 

Educational Equity Priorities

As students and recent graduates, we have recent experience with the challenges and inequities of the California education system. We believe that our leaders at both public and private institutions and the state level must work together to prioritize diverse student bodies and expand access to financial aid resources. The State must make continuous substantial investments to protect and expand financial aid while expanding on efforts to support racial diversity and inclusion on college campuses. Leaders must also work to encourage the development of vocational training programs that support students seeking to enter trade paths.

Housing Access Priorities

Housing has become a leading issue in communities across the state. Rising home prices affect people of all backgrounds as homeownership becomes unattainable and the high cost of living pushes more and more people into homelessness. YLAC supports policy solutions that increase housing availability, supports prospective homeowners and renters of all income levels, and provides dedicated support to foster youth experiencing homelessness. We support the development of low-income housing and urge the state to explore policies that encourage affordable homes for all income levels.

Digital Equity Priorities

Disparities in broadband accessibility, reliability, and affordability threaten to deny opportunities to millions of Californians and deepen disparities in education, employment, financial, and health outcomes. We support policies that expand broadband infrastructure across the state, require affordable access plans, and encourage the development of research and outreach programs to bridge the digital divide. YLAC aims to spread awareness of the impact the digital divide has on youth, primarily in low income communities and communities of color and to help shape policy recommendations.

YLAC’s Call to Action provides a starting place to solve the problems that California faces. We urge leaders to prioritize climate resilience, educational equity, housing access, and digital equity as they are issues that directly impact young people throughout the state. In addition to this Call to Action, YLAC will work to engage other youth-based organizations and policymakers across the state on these issues. We hope to host events that educate young adults and policymakers alike on these issues and drive meaningful change for all Californians.

Check out our Call to Action here!


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