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The Long Beach Green Schools Campaign: Emma Huynh

The nature of the Green Schools Campaign forces youth to put themselves in positions where we challenge authority. For the Long Beach campaign, I experienced struggles spanning from maintaining communication with the district leaders to feeling patronized by the way they underestimated us at times.

In terms of the Long Beach campaign, we faced quite a few setbacks. From the beginning of the campaign in 2020, our goal was to pass a resolution document that would affect change by 2030. Over the course of 2 years, this original goal was adapted to make it more feasible for LBUSD to accomplish. I started to work with the campaign in the summer of 2021, the beginning of my junior year. I dove head-first into working with them, volunteering for small responsibilities so that I could learn as I worked. That year, I had made the decision to stop playing soccer for my school, and to focus on my studies and other passions. On a personal level this was a very difficult decision for me, especially when it came to the choice where I stopped playing soccer altogether around March. This choice, however, allowed me to dedicate more time to the Green Schools Campaign. Starting in September 2021, I sat in meetings with the “core team” as they spoke to various district leaders, observing the sequence of events, their conversations, and the outcomes of the meeting. We hosted debrief meetings that followed the more important calls to discuss how we felt about what was discussed and air out what we felt should happen next. One of the most frustrating elements of these meetings was the perception that the student leaders of the campaign weren’t credible. In observance of the tone which the district members spoke to us, I can say with confidence that a majority of the time their words were laced with skepticism and condescension. Despite our frustration, we needed their help to be successful in our goal, so to overcome this aspect we decided to bring in people whose presence would validate our

argument. Adult leaders from the Sierra Club, the Sunrise Movement, and some sustainable

energy companies began sitting through our meetings, chiming in when needed. Parents of the Green Schools team began to help us bring our points across, and a few times we invited an environmental lawyer to help us reason with the district members.

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