young people from UCLA pose outside the Statehouse in Sacramento

LPPI Policy Fellows Gain Direct Experience With Advocacy in Sacramento

Policy fellows from the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) recently traveled to Sacramento to gain experience in direct advocacy with the California Legislature. During three days from May 2-4, they presented LPPI research, proposed bills to lawmakers, and met with key policy stakeholders and governmental agencies. The trip culminated in a policy briefing luncheon hosted by LPPI experts. Silvia R. González, Yohualli B. Anaya and Misael Galdámez provided lawmakers with an in-depth look at new research and data insights on housing insecurity, inequities in access to telehealth, the impact of COVID-19 on higher education outcomes and other issues affecting California’s varied Latino communities. Fellows also met with legislators in their Capitol offices to advocate for bills on topics ranging from alternatives to incarceration to Cal Grant system reform. Policy fellows and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients Aimee Benitez and Marcos Ruiz Rojas had an especially powerful experience meeting with Sen. Ben Hueso and seeing people like themselves represented in his staff. “Senator Hueso is a Latino Bruin who has hired people from our community, including other DACA recipients,” Benitez said. “He took the time to talk with us about the trajectory of his career path, saying one day when he is out of office, we’ll be the ones to take over.” LPPI representatives on the Sacramento trip also recognized the Latino Legislative Caucus for its efforts to champion LPPI and secure state funding to enable a transition from an initiative to an institute. — Alise Brillault

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