By Hope Juzon, Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change organizer
I expected to be disappointed. I expected to be left without a response. I expected to be frustrated.
As organizers, we are often fueled by our frustrations. We identify the inequities within our communities, and though we do have occasional victories, it often feels as though these victories are always followed by further injustice.
I was surprised to hear a response from Representative Rick Larsen’s staff; in fact, we had decided to shift the focus of our youth advisory council because it felt unlikely that we would ever hear from his office or his colleagues in the House. My fellow organizers from Washington state and I began undertaking a plan to construct a statewide youth advisory council for Senator Patty Murray. We constructed a constitution, developed a plan for outreach and promotion, and extended an invitation to Sen. Murray. Because of her focus on youth and her upcoming election campaign in 2022, we felt confident that she would be receptive to youth voices. Yet, we did not hear from her office.
I began to feel that this would simply be a lesson in developing strategic plans and outlines for a coalition; I had strengthened my ability to work with a team to create something tangible out of our vision. I learned to apply organizational structures that I have observed from my previous groups and internships to a new idea. Though I had gained important skills that would serve me in my future endeavors, I was disappointed that our vision did not seem feasible.
I was stunned when a month after I had contacted Rep. Larsen’s office, I received an email from his District Director. I had begun to doubt the power of my voice, and I questioned whether my representatives were truly seeking to serve their constituents. When I began corresponding with Rep. Larsen’s office, however, I finally felt hope.
I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Larsen’s District Director after only a day of first hearing back from his office. Upon presenting our vision for a coalition of youth advisory councils across Washington state, I had reignited my pursuit of this vision and grew confident again in my ability to create change in our political and government sectors. We are still in negotiations with Rep. Larsen’s office and are awaiting approval from Rep. Larsen, but I remain hopeful that he will recognize that youth voices are not only the future, but they are the present, and they deserve to be heard now.
Blue Future reminded me of the power of my own voice. I always found organizing to be fulfilling in my ability to engage others in our mission of progress, but through Blue Future, I began to feel hopeful about my own ability to enact change.
About Hope: Hope Juzon is a Junior at Tulane University studying legal studies. Hailing from Seattle, Hope grew up surrounded by the gentrification that resulted from the city’s rapid growth. Being raised in this environment has sparked her passion for housing rights, bringing her to electoral and issue-based organizing.