Monarchs Advocate for Change

Monarchs Advocate for Change

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By Surabhi Bhupathi ’19

In March, the Archbishop Mitty Advocacy Project (MAP) sent 36 students to the annual Catholic Youth Advocacy Day, a one-day event that allows students in the Catholic Youth Advocacy Network to meet state leaders in Sacramento and to advocate on behalf of some of today’s most urgent social justice issues. This year, the event marked MAP’s th trip to Sacramento for the annual Catholic Youth Advocacy Day.

Started in 2007, MAP is a student-led organization. It quickly became the social justice advocacy group in Campus Ministry and a place where students could meet to discuss and work on action items. Each year, MAP members vote on a number of different relevant social justice issues. A second vote then narrows down the list to four issues of focus. This year’s selected areas of focus are immigration, human trafficking, criminal justice reform, and environmental reform.

Also, MAP addresses other social justice issues that arise over the course of the year. The organization prides itself on the inclusivity of its club; its open-door policy ensures that any student with the passion for a specific issue can immediately walk in and start conversations surrounding that topic and propose action items, even if the topic may not be within the scope of the group’s four core issues. This policy ensures that MAP can adapt to serve additional issues as they become more topically relevant; for example, this past year, the group raised awareness for the issue of net neutrality and – more recently – addressed the issue of gun control at Catholic Youth Advocacy Day.

Catholic Youth Advocacy Day, referred to as “CYAN” by MAP students, is an integral part of the advocacy work. At CYAN, Archbishop Mitty students advocate for the bills that best support and advance marginalized societies, and lobby against those bills that do not adequately provide solutions for the issues that marginalized communities are plagued with. In addition to advocating for or against bills, students ask legislators questions about the legislative process and if progress has been made over the past year. This information provides insights that can be applied when the students advocate in the future. In addition to advocacy, CYAN provides a place for students like those participating in MAP to meet to discuss advocacy issues. Every year, CYAN sees students from different schools join together in advocacy workshops and legislative offices, pushing for changes  that make our community better.

In addition, MAP strives to accomplish the goal of putting Catholic faith into action to effect impactful, systemic change. These efforts continue to affirm the impact of social justice advocacy, especially among youth. To get updates on MAP, read the group’s blog at: medium.com/mitty-advocacy-project or visit the program’s website: mittyadvocacy.weebly.com.