ACT's work to mobilize our movement requires us to organize our communities and build leaders from the grassroots up. Our local campaigns emerge from our programs and the needs of the young people we work with. Program participants and adult allies engage in ACT's community-based campaigns to use a systems-change approach and leverage people power to get local policies passed that will push for better health and social outcomes for Central Valley residents. Our grassroots campaigns are conceived within our leadership programs (FLA & SHAPE), ACTion Teams, or through our Integrated Voter Engagement work.
Through ORALE, ACT was successful in removing glyphosate (the toxic chemical in Round-up) from Visalia Unified School District.
Organizing and Redefining Action for Long-Term Environmental Justice (ORALE), is an ACTion Team developed in partnership with local environmental justice group Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety (CAPS).
ORALE brings together community members of all ages to deepen their knowledge of enviro-repro justice, the toxic pesticide itself, and develop an action plan to pressure local governing bodies to discontinue using the product.
ORALE was able to successfully advocate for Visalia Unified to cease use of glyphosate in 2018, and the campaign has launched in two rural towns in Spring 2019 (Cutler-Orosi and Lindsay) to accomplish the same win – to remove the toxic pesticide from school campuses.
Sanctuary School at Woodlake Unified
ACT has been organizing in Woodlake with youth leaders through SHAPE since 2013, building leadership through intersections of reproductive justice
Since the 2016 election, Woodlake youth were vocally concerned about sanctuary spaces, and determined that the 2017-18 school year was when they wanted to take action and secure a safe haven policy by the district. Woodlake youth were energized by ACT’s commitment to strategize alongside them on how to make this policy change happen.
We outlined a calendar with the youth leaders from our ideal policy win and traced the calendar backwards to when we needed to be knocking on doors. Through IVE, ACT was able to employ most of the Woodlake youth organizers for our canvass for a sanctuary school district. At the end of our campaign, the young people produced 966 signed petitions to present to the school board.
In March 2018, the Woodlake youth went to the school board to make public comment that they intended to bring this resolution to the board in April. In April, they presented a resolution and the 966 signed petitions to the school board and requested a vote. The school board agreed to work with the students over the next month and vote in May. The youth met with the superintendent and high school principal twice to negotiate language of the resolution, and again asked for a vote in May. The school board unanimously voted in favor of the resolution and applauded the youth in standing up for their values and their peers.
The Safe Place school resolution is the second in the county and the first led by young people.
LGBTQ+ Inclusive Training at Orosi High School
Youth leaders identified LGBTQ+ inclusivity as a primary issue on their campus. With the support of the principal and administration, students organized a training for all of teachers in August 2018 to address the student’s concerns and provide training to create the environment they wished to see. ACT’s partner, The Source LGBT+ Center supported the youth leaders efforts. The training was a great success creating more dialogue and awareness about LGBTQ+ students and their needs
Youth leaders created a button with artwork portraying the school mascot with a rainbow outlining it for teachers and administrators to wear to show LGBTQ+ solidarity and provide safety to LGBTQ+ students. The buttons were gone quickly and the school requested more from ACT.
Educate to End the Hate
When a student wore a confederate flag sweatshirt to his high school campus in Visalia in September 2017, students felt unsafe. Due to the administrations immediate lack of action, students acknowledged the condoned sense of racism present on their campus, and within the greater community.
The Feminist Leadership Academy (FLA) organized meetings and developed an action plan. They made t-shirts, buttons, and social media posts with the “Educate to End the Hate” campaign slogan. The FLA group organized a silent protest using their t-shirts on the high school campus where the incident occurred and built support for their efforts. They then organized students, parents, and ACT staff to attend a Visalia Unified School District Board of Education meeting. At the meeting, several students shared their feelings of fear on campus and disappointment in the administration. The students demanded that the schools board not simply consider this a dress code violation but that they directly present a plan to address the underlying issue of racial tension on campus.
In order to provide youth with referrals to unbiased pharmacies, ACT’s program participants survey and secret shop local pharmacies in Tulare County.
In an effort to get the word out about Emergency Contraception, ACT volunteers become myth-busters and educate one person at a time to raise community awareness. Youth create an annual report card to inform the community where to access emergency contraception.
ACT published Pharmacy Access: Advocacy Guide to Increasing Community Access to Emergency Contraception. The Advocacy Guide outlines ACT’s campaign and provides a step by step iteration for community based organizations to implement in their own communities. To obtain a copy of the publication, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't Let A Hot Date
Don’t let a Hot Date turn into a Due Date is an annual campaign to increase access to condoms and resources to make informed decisions about sexual health.
Each year program leaders stand outside of prom to pass out safety kits to prom goers. Over 600 kits are distributed to students who electively take them. The kits include information on smart choices to inform young adults about being safe on prom night, including information about suicide awareness, a date rape hotline, LGBTQ+ resources, clinic access, and condoms.
Plan A Sex Education for All
ACT’s program participants have organized since 2005 to ensure all Tulare County schools teach comprehensive, medically accurate sexual health education.
The Healthy Youth Act was made a law effective January 2016. ACT inform school administrators, teachers, parents, and allies about their obligation to be in compliance with the law, offering support and suggestions for implementation.
Sex Education Victories
Effective January 1, 2016, the Health Youth Act was placed into law. ACT worked with partners across the state to uplift this legislation.
2013- Woodlake Unified School District changed with policy and began implementing sexual health education.
2013- Farmersville School District contracted with Tulare County Health and Human Services to provide comprehensive sexual health education.
2010- Visalia Unified School District changed their policy and began implementing sexual health education.