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Many student voices sends a powerful message to the Legislature

January 26, 2018 by Daniela Suarez

This week was one of those weeks that get you to the Legislature at 7:45 a.m. for a hearing — before the sun has come up — and leave in the afternoon when the sun has set for the day. Nonetheless what a week for student advocacy and engagement!

I have a love and hate relationship with the Senate Higher Education Committee hearings. I love them for the fact that I get to start off the day strong with hearing bills that are going to affect the future of my education. And I love that I get to be present at them and occasionally testify. My day starts off full of promise of productivity. I hate them for being so early. Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. SB 6261 had its public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce education committee. I brought along to the hearing the  ASB President Ashleigh DeBuse from SPSCC to testify along with me in support of fully funding the State Need Grant and expanding edibility to others. It was nice to have a fellow student on the hill on Tuesday. A message is the more prominent when you have multiple voices.

Additionally, on Tuesday I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the Commission of Hispanic Affairs’ CHA radio station program. The radio station program is completely in Spanish. When I was about 4-years-old, I moved from Peru to the United States. Growing up I spoke Spanish at home. I am glad, over the years, I was able to continue speaking Spanish after leaving Peru. In instances like these, I am glad I have the ability to share the work I do at the State Board, as well as my academic journey, with the Spanish speaking community.

Talk about momentum! Wednesday I was able to witness SB 5074 pass the Senate with a majority vote of 38, while being in hallway in the Senate chamber. It was an incredible experience to be standing on the outskirts of the Senate floor watching Senators vote in support of expanding the College Bound Scholarship to everyone. As the vote passed, I was standing alongside of undocumented students watching the joy on their faces light up the room. Right after the Senate adjourned Senators Frockt, Ranker, and Saldana held a press conference where students shared their academic stories of being undocumented in Washington.

Jan. 25 finally arrived and so did CTC students for WACTCSA Advocacy Day! WACTCSA Advocacy Day is a day where students from the Community and Technical Colleges come to Olympia to speak about their Legislative Agenda and their campus-wide issues. Throughout my day on the hill, I saw familiar faces all around. It truly is a different type of message legislators get when it comes from students. I know from my experience testifying, legislators truly are attentive when student voices are in hearings and in visits. Because at the end of the day it impacts our education, our future when decisions are made on the hill.

Last Modified: 1/3/22, 9:18 AM
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