Cleveland High School cheerleaders cheer with facemasks at a high school football game.

Cleveland High Students Urge Senator Patty Murray to Support Good Jobs for All

by Chamidae Ford

At Cleveland High School, the Sunrise Hub is working to create sustainable jobs for their future selves and their peers.

On April 7, Cleveland Sunrise Hub hosted a protest to urge Sen. Patty Murray to support the Good Jobs for All Pledge

Good Jobs for All is a pledge that demands a Green New Deal and would require senators to create and support a legislature that promotes sustainable jobs that pay workers a living wage and allow them to unionize. 

President and founder of Cleveland Sunrise Hub Layla Ismail, 14, began the Cleveland High School chapter of the Sunrise Movement in order to create change in her community. 

“Growing up in the Midwest, I had to face a lot of phobias and a lot of racism from my predominantly white teachers,” Ismail said. “My entire life I’ve been taking all of this prejudice and discrimination silently. And so moving to Seattle, I realized this is not the norm. This is not something that I should have to go through just because of my skin color and my religion. So when I heard about Sunrise, I was like, ‘This is a good opportunity for me to fight back and share my voice.’”

Made up of 17 students, the Cleveland Sunrise Hub cultivates a space for young people to speak freely about the many issues the world is facing. 

“We’re really just a group of activists who have seen the decisions that have been made without our voices,” Ismail said. “We really try to work against that. We try to use our voices a lot and really just stand up for what we believe is right.”

Although the Cleveland High School chapter of the Sunrise Movement has only been around for a month, the club is already tackling many current events. 

“We discuss prevalent topics, like hate against Asian Americans, the Biden administration’s involvement with Syria — we’ve also discussed things like climate change, Tacoma LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas], and stuff like that,” Ismail said.

The club’s April 7 protest took place at 11:30 a.m. at Murray’s office and featured a wide range of demonstrations.

“We’re expressing our views directly at Senator Patty Murray’s frontline at her office and because we’ve already done nice sort of actions, like sending letters and directly reaching out to her,” Ismail said. “We’re not just taking action by physically showing up, there’s going to be speeches, songs, and chants and really just an inspirational way to showcase that we care and that we are here.” 

Good Jobs for All is just the first step for Cleveland Sunrise Hub. Their goals are vast.

“Good Jobs for All is a learning experience for us,” Ismail said. “And it is not the only thing that we’re going to be specifically focusing on. For my years at high school and even beyond, I think that this club could really grow and accomplish really great things.”

And while Good Jobs for All is just the beginning for the Cleveland Sunrise Hub, it is something Ismail and her peers are passionate about. This pledge would kickstart a better workforce that they would one day enter. 

“Good Jobs for All is a campaign in which it basically says, ‘Hey, the workforce right now, they’re being underpaid, a lot of people are jobless, and there are so many people on unemployment. We need to stop this,” Ismail said. “Patty Murray, senators of the USA, sign this and make sure that your people, the people that you’re supposed to serve, have good sustainable jobs.”

Chamidae Ford is a recent journalism graduate of the University of Washington. Born and raised in Western Washington, she has a passion for providing a voice to the communities around her. She has written for The Daily, GRAY Magazine, and Capitol Hill Seattle. Reach her on IG/Twitter: @chamidaeford.

Featured image by Susan Fried.

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