Students in the "Democracy in Action" program organized a civic action to benefit the mentally disabled.
Overview of Project:
Seven high school students of diverse backgrounds, collaborating as Student Advocates for the Mentally Disabled (SAMD), organized an free awareness concert on Thursday, August 18, 2005, on the Plaza adjacent to the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, in Downtown Los Angeles. SAMD hoped that their concert, "Rock 'n' Rights: Rockin' for the Mentally Disabled," would generate awareness for this neglected and marginalized population.
The seven students, participants in the National Center's "Democracy in Action" program, are from Mark Keppel, Crenshaw, Palos Verdes, Manual Arts, and Cabrillo High Schools.
After much research, the students collectively decided to build their civic action project around issues that affect the developmentally challenged. "We seek to educate, stimulate, and mobilize the community against the injustices experienced by the mentally disabled in the areas of education, job discrimination, and criminal justice," says Student Advocate Jennifer Phung.
SAMD produced and distributed an Awareness Pamphlet with information on issues affecting the mentally disabled.
SAMD held the benefit concert in partnership with Lamp Community, a non-profit organization providing housing, health recovery and job training to homeless men and women with serious mental illness. Donations of personal hygiene items, canned foods, phone cards, clothes, shoes, bedding, books, etc. were collected at the concert in support of Lamp Community.
The concert's line-up included East L.A. favorites Ollin with their world punk sound, and Old Souls, a rock 'n' roll band made up of elementary-age students. Also performing was Tangklang Dance Crew, an experimental break dance troupe. State and local officials, along with advocates for the developmentally disabled, attended and offered remarks in support of the effort.
Gilbert Valles, [school]
Ruben Guevara, [school]
Meryl Moilov, Palos Verdes High School
Jennifer Phung, Mark Keppel High School
Karla Rivera-Guzman, Crenshaw High School
Patrick Romero, Manual Arts High School
Edwin Sun, Mark Keppel High School
Chelli Ubelhoer, Cabrillo High School
Peggy Wong, Mark Keppel High School
Education Coordinator, National Center