Students and allies,
Thank you for joining us for a new year of amplifying student voices and fighting for equitable schools. More than ever, 2020 is a year where we need young people to guide us in the movement for a more just future.
Throughout the past year, we have had the privilege of working with students who are on the front lines of local organizing. We have mentored students through the creation of 18 new school chapters, worked alongside 30 student ambassadors undertaking grassroots projects in their schools and shared over 50 pieces of student journalism. As our 2019 Tour Across America’s Schools closes, we are committed to sustaining the relationships we built at over 60 schools and providing students with the resources they need to take action in their schools and communities. All of these students inspire our team to fight harder to make the Student Bill of Rights a reality in all schools.
I know from personal experience that Student Voice’s work is transformational. When I was a senior in high school, I participated in Student Voice’s first cohort of Ambassadors. For years, I had witnessed the shortcomings of my school but felt powerless to address them. The Ambassador program helped me turn my frustration into action. With the support of Student Voice, I spent my senior year writing about issues of inequity and institutional segregation in Charleston County and advocating for stronger mental health supports for students across the district.
Moved by my time as an Ambassador, I joined the Student Voice team in the summer of 2018 to create the Student Voice Journalism Fellowship. Over the past year and a half, this program has reminded me time and time again why stories are such a powerful tool for social change. When we share stories, we are forced to slip into the worldview of someone else and exercise empathy, which I believe is one of the strongest catalysts for action.
As the new Executive Director of Student Voice, I am committed to listening to the stories of students organizing for better education across this country. This organization has already taught me so much, and I know there is so much more to learn and that young leaders are the best teachers.
Student Voice, at its core, aims to leverage our resources and networks to support local organizing and amplify students’ stories. Throughout the next year, our team is committed to creating the Student Voice Policy Library so students have access to concrete, researched examples of equitable policies to bring to their schools.
Ahead of the 2020 elections, I am especially excited to launch our get out the vote storytelling campaign. Our team will be sharing stories of the stakes that students, the majority of whom can’t vote, face in 2020, from local school board races to the national presidential election. We know that sustained organizing beyond 2020 is crucial for schools, and we are excited to propel the students who engage with us ahead of the elections into long-term work with local chapters.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to support students across the country as they fight to democratize America’s schools. I hope to spend the next few weeks learning from students, allies and partners as we launch another full year of Student Voice work. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, (843) 469-0683 or across social media @taylorkahnperry. My door is always open.
About Student Voice
Student Voice is a by-students, for-students 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in all 50 states to equip students as storytellers, organizers and institutional partners who advocate for student-driven solutions to educational inequity. Through direct civic action, Student Voice helps students hold their schools and surrounding communities accountable to the Student Bill of Rights and prepares them to become lifelong agents of social and political change. For more information about Student Voice, visit our website at StuVoice.org and follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on social media.