The Power of Advocacy

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by Aditi Chatradhi and Vedya Konda

“Let us pray for peace, and let us bring it about, starting in our own homes,” Pope Francis once stated. That day he proclaimed that we should spot the complicated puzzles in our own homes and communities and find a way to glue the pieces together. This caught our attention, the students of Archbishop Mitty High School and members of the Mitty Advocacy Project (MAP), and we knew that we had to find a way to solve the burning problems in our community.

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In preparation for our trip to the Capitol building to lobby for bills that we believed were extremely significant, we discussed four major issue in our society; human trafficking, the wage gap, criminal justice reform and housing. As we practiced our lobbying skills through mock legislative meetings and developed our understanding of the bills and issues through research, the team felt prepared for what was to come. Despite our preparation,however, we were still a bit nervous since it was the first legislative meeting for many of us. The juniors and seniors gave us inspiring and encouraging talks about their experiences, so our nerves transformed into eagerness.

Upon arriving at Sacramento, we first went to the cathedral across from the Capitol Building. After an enlightening mass preached by our own teacher, Mr. Herrera, Jacob Isaacs, the MAP president, delivered a magnificent manifesto detailing his own experiences with advocacy. Sophie Sharma then introduced the series of workshops where high school students from across California presented issues and bills that could help solve some major problems in our community. Austin Walsh and Aditi Chatradhi started it off by conducting a workshop about the wage gap. They gave a presentation and held an activity where they conveyed what the wage gap is and how it affects the entire population of America. Vedya Konda, Da Sol Kim, Catherine Peterson, Elizabeth Ericksen, and Brandon Milliken spoke about human trafficking and its impact on young people, how human trafficking rates had gone up in northern California due to the Super Bowl, and how young people can protect themselves and spread awareness about the issue.

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Fully prepared for the legislative meetings, we went to the Capitol Building for our first session. Splitting up into groups of three, we went to the offices of Jim Beall, Evan Low, and Kansen Chu to advocate for the issues we believed needed to be solved as soon as possible. The groups that finished early also had a chance to watch the assembly and senate meeting sessions in motion. Finally, wrapping up the trip, we took a quick tour of the Capitol building and traveled back home.

This trip has definitely reformed our perspective on politicians and what they do. Advocating for the wage gap and human trafficking bills in particular has brought us to realize that the legislative system is in fact working to create and enforce change for the better. To summarize, this youth advocacy trip has not only led us to learning about the legislative system, but it has led us to have a stronger faith in advocacy.

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Staying Safe Online

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By: Arjan Warya (Junior)

It’s no surprise that our top focus is Human Trafficking this year with Santa Clara and the greater Bay Area hosting Super Bowl 50. Yet, as teenagers, one may ask how WE are affected. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life as teenagers, we really do not take in account how human trafficking could very easily engulf our life. Personally, as bad as it may sound, social media revolves around my entire life, whether it is Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. Now, you may be asking how you can ever fall in the trap of human trafficking through social media. Well, in reality, the possibilities are endless. Online safety is a major key in staying safe from potential traffickers.  By using these simple five steps listed below, you can ensure yourself to be safe from the malicious predators online.  [Source: Polaris Project’s Staying Safe Online]

Social Media Icons

1) Privacy Settings

When posting on social networking sites, double check privacy settings and remove any geographical information, such as school name or city, or automatic GPS tags on photographs or photograph-based websites.

2) Discretion

When posting on social networking sites, be cautious not to provide unnecessary information regarding your daily activities or close friends and family.

3) Block Unknown People

Consider blocking suspicious followers, and ”Unfriending”/”Unfollowing” all of your people you don’t know.  Blocking a user from a social network site provides extra levels of privacy and security. Always consider that anything shared on a social networking site can eventually find its way to a suspicious follower and/or someone that might pass on this information, even innocently.

4) New Email/Usernames

Choose a gender neutral, non-specific username that is not similar to one you have used before. Don’t reference favorite hobbies or birthdates in your username, or anything that might alert a trafficker to your identity.  [i.e.  soccergirl13]

5) Delete Search/Browser History

Search engines track your online searches and this information can be accessed by others using the same computer. If you are concerned that your trafficker will see what you have been searching for online, is important to clear your search history after each session. Search engines track your online searches and this information can be accessed by others using the same computer. If you are concerned that a suspicious follower will see what you have been searching for online, is important to clear your search history after each session.

Essentially, human traffickers and predators online are looking for one main thing: information or something to hold against you. Traffickers use tactics of blackmail to harass and coerce their victims into doing whatever they please. It is very important to understand that we must take precautions online, before it is inevitably too late.

Make the smart choice to stay safe online to remain safe.  Stay tuned as we have more information coming out soon.  Please visit the Polaris Project and FBI’s website for more tips on tightening up your online identity.

 

Help Fight Human Trafficking

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As the Super Bowl nears, more than one million people are expected to come to the Bay Area for the festivities. Believe it or not, though, many of those people are brought here against their will. Whenever a major event comes to a metropolitan area, human trafficking in that area spikes.

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MAP President, Jacob Isaacs Speaking to student body

Over the past eight years students at Archbishop Mitty High School have taken on combatting Human Trafficking as part of their Mitty Advocacy Project. Over six bills have been signed into law to protect victims of trafficking and intensify laws against traffickers.

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Aditi Chatradi explaining to stay safe on line

Perhaps the most significant measure is through developing public awareness. It’s unfortunate, but traffickers are present an active in San Jose. By informing and discussing the issue, we can make Human Trafficking a thing of the past.

What can you do?

  • Visit www.slaverymap.org
  • Pick up Human Trafficking posters and signs from San Jose Police department
  • Start talking about it with your community, especially youth
  • Encourage and educate young people to be secure and proactive online
  • Write and visit your legislators to foster support for legislation against Human Trafficking.
  • Recognize the signs someone is being trafficked

Mitty Advocacy students  designed and filmed this investigative piece on Human Trafficking in San Jose. With the help of Human Trafficking Division San Jose Police Department we went out into the streets to see where Human Trafficking is happening in our city.

Article Edited by MAP Junior Sophie Sharma

Social Media Campaign 2016

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Archbishop Mitty and Notre Dame High School students gathered for a social media campaign to spread awareness this week.

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It is a good chance to get information out to people prior to the Super Bowl to hopefully drive this crime from our community.

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Students in MAP and other advocacy programs in the Bay Area are unifying and working on this issue.  Join the discussion on Twitter #stoptrafficking.

Check out our photo gallery of the evening  GALLERY

Join the fight against Human Trafficking tonight!

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From 6-8 pst tonight January 13th students at Archbishop Mitty are using their phones, iPads, and laptops to combat a social ill that is affecting the Bay Area.  Although Human Trafficking is a perennial problem – evident spikes are seen around large events such as the Super Bowl.  

Our Plan

1.  We will release one major Human Trafficking fact every few minutes to spread on social media

2.  Join Twitter Feed #stoptrafficking to receive updates

3.  Help spread awareness tonight from 6-8 p.m. on your favorite social media outlets

At 6:30 we will play the gripping film Hark by Professor Jonathan Fung at Santa Clara University.

Goal

To help get the National Human Trafficking hotline # 1.888.3737.888 in the hands of one person to protect them from Traffickers.

Human Trafficking Social Media Campaign

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Who:               Archbishop Mitty’s Advocacy Program
What:                  Social Media Campaign to combat Human Trafficking
Where:                Aymar Event Center
When:                 Wednesday, January, 13th    6-8 p.m.
How:                    Twitter   #stoptrafficking

 

Students at Archbishop Mitty have been working on Human Trafficking for many years.  For the past two years we have been preparing for Super Bowl 50 to combat the trafficking that surrounds this event.  It is a problem everyday, but criminal activity skyrockets prior to this event.

 

Bay Area Catholic Youth students are welcome to attend.  They can bring laptops, devices to Mitty to help spread online awareness prior to the Super Bowl.

 

Spread the word – friends and classmates can join discussions

Follow on Twitter via #mittyadvocacy and #stoptrafficking.

Follow MAP: @mittyadvocacy

A Catholic Community Responds to Human Trafficking

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Welcome to our presentation on developing a Catholic community response to the issue of Human Trafficking.

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Our workshop today is designed to help you create a template for action for your Catholic communities to prepare not only for large events which exploit thousands of captive people, but to create a foundation of action everyday to drive this “plague” from our cities.

The take away from our workshop is to create a template for you and your communities.  We will be outlining the solutions presented in our workshop on this Google Doc.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING SOLUTION TEMPLATE

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