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Age 14, City Heights

I was born in Encinitas and moved to City Heights in 2014. I like to play video games and I do a lot of singing and acting. This summer, I actually took a class for making movies, because I want to be in the movies. I’m energized and goal-oriented, but right now, I’m just trying to survive 10th grade.

My dream would be to finish college and lead a stable life, because most of my life hasn’t been stable. I’m interested in being a chef or singer too. I would like to find a purpose in life. I’ve been trying to help my community by doing advocacy. I’m with Mid-City CAN and I advocated for free bus passes for youth. I’ve also been trying to break the school-to-prison pipeline.

Youth in City Heights are all diverse, but there’s a sense of community. There’s a huge immigrant population, and a lot of my friends are first and second-generation immigrants. There are a lot of needs, but to pinpoint one need, the school-to-prison pipeline is a huge problem. Where schools aren’t that great, you have police in the schools. We just passed this thing called the School Climate Bill of Rights, so we can implement restorative justice. A lot of kids when they get in trouble, receive a punitive sentence. But in these programs, they’re asked instead how they can give back to the community.

Youth are the future. We’re going to be running the government and we need to be given opportunities to actually do something. If you’re putting us in jail, we can’t do anything. You have to invest in us.

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