On January 13, students in Identity’s youth advocacy program, PODER (People Organizing, Determined, Empowered, and Ready) – the Spanish word for ‘power’ –  traveled to Annapolis to learn the history of the Annapolis State House and the Maryland General Assembly.

Youth were able to tour the State House, House Office Building, and the Senate to fully get a feel for where legislative decisions are made, while also learning about how bills become laws in Maryland. Furthermore, youth leaders met with the District 39 team – Delegate Acevero, Delegate Lopez, and Delegate Reznik – to introduce themselves and the PODER program to their representatives. Youth also met with Delegate Solomon, District 18, as he facilitated the process of the visit and tour. Lastly, youth were recognized on the House Floor during session when Del. Acevero highlighted the importance of Identity, youth power, and leadership, and presented Maryland’s future leaders to the Maryland General Assembly.

Overall, the youth expressed that they not only learned a lot about how decisions are made on their behalf in Maryland, but were also reminded that this space is for them, too. Most of the students expressed an interest in internship opportunities, scholarships, and jobs in Annapolis in the future. All youth reported that networking with their representatives left them feeling connected and heard.