My Virtual Day of Action Experience by Tearza Valencia, Grants HS

Hello! My name is Tearza Valencia and I’m a Junior at Grants High School. I became a member of Evolvement just this year. Despite being new to the cause, I recently had the opportunity to speak with my state legislators during the Virtual Day of Action and I took it!

Events like the Virtual Day of Action give students like me a chance to go a step further as a changemaker. At events like this, we are allowed to express our concerns and have them taken seriously. It gives us a chance to speak with important people that can help us make a larger impact on the issue we are tackling. At this Virtual Day of Action, my team of fellow Evolvers and I discussed the dangers of tobacco with our state legislators. We also expressed our support for strong tobacco-free policies that could benefit everyone. Policies we advocated for included a ban on flavored tobacco products and an increase in tobacco-free schools. These policies would make communities safer and healthier. The issues prompting the desire for these policies are very apparent. Flavored tobacco products are more appealing to youth. This matters because 1 in 3 high schoolers reported using e-cigarettes. Another reason is that over 90% of nicotine addictions start before the user is 18 years of age. A flavor ban policy, as well as comprehensive tobacco-free school policies, could prevent nicotine addictions from even starting, thus preventing tobacco addictions as well.

Talking to legislators during the Virtual Day of Action felt empowering! Knowing my voice was heard and that I was taking steps to protect my generation was extremely rewarding. Working with Evolvement has taught me the importance of policy; it helps guide legislators to make great decisions for their communities. Other students getting involved in policy leads to more awareness and informed youth advocacy. Evolvement is filled with informed students and that is why our suggested policy changes are worth supporting.

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