youth visibility in policy making
SEAT demonstrated power at the capitol every week of the 88th Texas Legislature after the filing deadline. In April 2023, SEAT organized an advocacy day at the capitol with students from cities across Texas. We met with nearly 30 legislators and offices to demand a seat at the table in decisions directly affecting us. We gave them our signature SEAT lapel pins and asked for them to pledge their support for involving youth in policymaking.
During the 88th Texas Legislature, we worked directly with many legislators to introduce bills like HB 1945 and SB 2321, present amendments to the HB 900 book ban bill, and recognize student organizers with resolutions like HR 1005 and HR 1056. Many legislators wore our signature SEAT lapel pins on the Texas House and Senate floors to protest bills that would ultimately harm students.
the narrative of young people
Politics happens whether or not we are at the table. We believe it's dire for students to show up where policy is made. We demonstrate power with our involvement in decision-making. Delivering testimony, facilitating conversations, and sustaining powerful relationships are central to SEAT's mission. We testified in May 2023 for Rep. Christina Morales' HB 45 for ethnic studies curriculum among other bills.
reclaiming our education
Students' rights and agency is vital to shaping educational experiences more conducive to our learning and well-being. No one should be dictating the narrative about us without us at the table. We seek to make decisions, not face their impacts. After testifying in March 2023 for Rep. Carl Sherman's HB 2647, written by 8th grader Ayaan, the bill passed the Texas House.
speaking above the flood line
Amid unprecedented censorship and policies that further marginalize vulnerable students, our local organizing is replicable statewide. We are building a social movement with digital organizing and by targeting audiences in the press to build momentum. SEAT organizers have written op-eds and been featured in 100+ media publications. We have spoken at countless events, including a Human Rights Campaign dinner to receive the Trailblazer Award.
defending our student rights
We aim to construct meaningful and positive change, but not all legislation will build up our communities. Sometimes we have to fight bad bills, and we testified and organized against bills like SB 1515, which mandated the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms. This bill did not pass, and we successfully killed other bad bills like SB 1072 and HB 1507.
SEAT organizer Grace joined SANE at Babson College for the Youth Leadership Institute.
SEAT organizer Edward attended the Future Latino Leaders Law Institute in Washington.
SEAT organizer Da'Taeveyon spoke at CDF's ChildWatch 2023 conference in Los Angeles.
SEAT delivered comments to Harris County's Commissioner's Court on voting acesss.
Banned Books Week named SEAT organizer Da'Taeveyon as Youth Honorary Chair.
SEAT is training students for media engagement to write our narrative.
SEAT is a peer mentor network of young people learning advocacy and communications skills, transferable to any professional field. SEAT organizers initiate and lead the way on a wide range of issues affecting young people in the context of education and school.
So what's next?
The narrative is ours to write. We must join the frontlines and engage in decisions where they are made. SEAT is continuing to organize in the state legislature and in school districts statewide. Please follow us on socials, join our mailing list, and check out the Get Involved page to learn how you can be part of our transformative movement.