By Marissa Valles
The College Corps invited students to participate in democracy by serving their communities.
East Los Angeles College Corps hosted a watch party panel that featured political staff members Josh Fryday and Heather McGhee. Both have experience in political activism.
Smith, the event moderator, spoke with Fryday, Chief Service Officer under Governor Newsom, and McGhee, a policy advocate, who each encouraged students to engage in civic work.
“You don’t have to have any special degrees, skills or permission. Most importantly, to get loud and to get active.” McGhee said.
Fryday agreed that students don’t need extensive experience to get involved, and applauded College Corps students for taking the initiative to help out their community.
“You could be using your time and talent for a lot of other things but you have stepped up to serve your community.” Fryday said.
ELAC is one of 45 campuses across the state to participate in the College Corps program.
The College Corps program focuses on getting students engaged in serving their communities and learning important leadership skills. These skills will help them both academically and in the work force.
Fryday said that despite what people may believe, everyone has an important voice in a democracy.
“There’s a lot of ways to get engaged, and the only way a democracy works is by everyone taking these small steps.
“Never cease your voice.
“Never give up the fact that you have a voice and a powerful place at the table,” Fryday said.
Fryday and McGhee said they hope students take away something from the program.
“Ultimately, the kinds of experiences that students are going to have now, whether if it’s at a food bank or at a small grassroots organizations or tutoring, are bringing you in proximity of people whose stories are going to help you really understand who are the best advocates for the solutions.
“What are the best solutions, and whose voices can be brought to the halls of power tomorrow, the next day, and the rest of your life,” said McGhee.
“Rolling up your sleeves and getting on-the-ground experience will make [students] so much more credible, but also knowledgeable about the kind of change that we need in this country.
“Not only are you making a difference now in what you’re doing but you’re also taking these lessons with you for the rest of your life,” Fryday said.
Students can find updates and information about ELAC’s College Corps on their Instagram @elaccollegecorps.