The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School

The Poolesville Pulse

The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School

The Poolesville Pulse

The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School

The Poolesville Pulse

Featured Falcon: Student Activist Olivia Ding


What is The Youth Agenda?

The Youth Agenda is a list of the most pressing current issues, as decided by young activists involved in various advocacy groups, with the goal in mind of calling on lawmakers and leaders of our country, specifically President Biden, to follow through on their promises by taking action on these grievances. 

What did you do at the capitol on March 6th?

I had the privilege of attending a press conference held by leaders of national organizations such as Gen Z for Change, Sunrise Movement, March For Our Lives, and United We Dream. Legislators like Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12), Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35), and Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) attended and spoke at the press conference to show their support for the Youth Agenda, urging President Biden and Vice President Harris to finish the job. 

What inspired you to join United We Dream?

I first “joined” through one of the UWD branch organizations, Student FAIR, in 9th grade. I am the first-generation daughter of two immigrants and have always played an active role in advocating for immigration reform, whether I knew it or not at the time. One of the earliest memories I can recall is of my parents asking me to translate official documents, which I considered to be the biggest burden for 8-year-old Olivia. I wasn’t privy to the struggles they encountered earlier that day, turned away from government offices simply because of their inability to perfectly speak and understand English– I’m sure that many of my fellow peers can relate to this experience in one way or another. I definitely wouldn’t say that I had one single “turning point” which inspired me to start taking action, but rather a culmination of events throughout my life that really drove me to pursue this and join United We Dream/Student FAIR. 

What are your personal goals within the organization?

A few of my goals are to continue lobbying for legislation that actively aids immigrants and refugees both locally and nationally, encourage more students to get involved in their own government, and overall promote more civic engagement with younger audiences, as I believe that the youth voice is incredibly powerful and we should do everything we can to prevent it from being silenced. 

Do you do anything similar outside of this? 

Yes! I’m involved in United we Dream, the largest non-profit dedicated to fighting for immigration reform; I am one of the core leaders for a branch of UWD, called Student FAIR (Fans of Asylum and Immigration Reform). Student FAIR is a student-led organization located in Montgomery County that shares the same mission and goals as UWD, but is much more local and county-wide based. Through this group, I was able to learn about the Youth Agenda and advocate for causes that I hold close to my heart, something that I simply don’t believe I would’ve been able to do without it. Just recently, Student FAIR lobbied in Annapolis with an organization called Compass Care to encourage legislators to vote in favor of the ‘Access to Care Act,’ which is a bill that, if passed, would remove immigration status as a requirement for Marylanders to purchase their own healthcare insurance. As of right now, the bill has passed in the House and is in its third reading in the Senate. 

Is politics something you are interested in pursuing in the future?

Without a doubt! I’ve always been interested in learning how governments around the world work, and within the past few months, I’ve been provided with a multitude of opportunities to receive first-hand experience participating in my own government. In the future, I hope that wherever my endeavors take me, I am always able to give back to my community and support those in need. To me, the core of politics is being able to represent those who can’t represent themselves, and giving a platform and voice to those who don’t have one. 

How can other students get involved?

Students can get involved in tons of ways! I always encourage my friends and peers to join FAIR, which is a local branch of United We Dream located in Montgomery County. Since FAIR is connected to UWD, we are given multiple opportunities to work directly with the national non-profit (for example, I was able to attend the Youth Agenda press conference as a result of the relationship FAIR has with UWD). Additionally, FAIR hosts their own separate events too, such as Sunday Stories, where FAIR members read stories and play games to help non-English speakers practice their English, and advocacy days, where members visit legislators to testify and push for bills that support immigrants and refugees. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Brooklyn Hornyak
Brooklyn Hornyak, Staff Writer
Brooklyn Hornyak is a senior in the Independent Studies Program. Her favorite song is “Son of a Sinner” by Jelly Roll and one fun fact about her is that she has two dogs, Bailey and Beans.
Rhia Basit
Rhia Basit, Staff Writer
Rhia Basit is a senior in the Humanities Program. Her favorite song is “Chutes & Ladders" by Odie Leigh and one fun fact about her is that she is a twin!
Maya Kozauer
Maya Kozauer, Staff Writer
 Maya Kozauer is a senior in the Independent Studies Program. Her favorite song is “Style” by Taylor Swift and one fun fact about her is that she has a leopard gecko named Spotty!
Gabby Orns
Gabby Orns, Staff Writer
Gabby Orns is a senior in the Independent Studies Program. Her favorite song is “5 to 50” by Benny the Butcher and one fun fact about her is that she can do a headstand!

Comments (0)

All The Poolesville Pulse Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *