Teamwork makes the dream work
While the remaining pieces of legislation that the State Board has been tracking this session make their way through fiscal committees and budgets make their way to the floors of their chambers, the chance to participate in professional development and collaborative work in and outside of the agency has opened a whole new set of learning opportunities and experiences. While most of my work through the first portion of the session centered around tracking and testifying on bills, the latter half of session has allowed me to really dig into what initially attracted me to this internship: the desire to make positive change in the equity and accessibility of postsecondary education, and what I can do to keep stoking the fire that has helped me to be successful.
On March 30, I joined SBCTC’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team to attend my first People’s Gathering, a conference offered through Pacific Lutheran University which provides a safe space for attendees to have authentic conversations about race and systemic racial disparities. With sessions facilitated by local and national social justice scholars and leaders from Indigenous, Asian, Black, Latino, Multiracial, Pacific Islander and, white communities, I was honored to spend the day in that space discussing how to collectively and personally double down on racial justice. While the gravity of these conversations deserves mention, I found the day provided an even sharper focus and intention for the time ahead; to do more than merely collect knowledge and tools, but to use them to implement action.
As this 68th legislative session starts to wind down, I look forward to seeing the fruits of SBCTC’s collective efforts and am grateful to have been a part of the process. Whether it was to expand the eligibility period of the Washington College Grant, to expand the mental health resources available, or to help our community and technical college students access basic needs resources, each piece of legislation I got to work on this session has the potential to better the lives and futures of students all over our state. While not everything I hoped would pass made it through the policy gauntlet, I got to watch the stage be set for sessions ahead as each failed bill lives on as a desire for change.