What I Did Last Summer by Adriel Nulud and Nikki Embalzado

Adriel Nulud and Nikki Embalzado first got involved with SOMCAN through the 2018 Land is Life program, a summer internship for high school youth to explore environmental and social issues relating to working-class, immigrant communities in San Francisco. They learned so much, and had so much fun while doing it, that they decided to become full-fledged members of the youth organizing group, YOHANA! Here’s what they had to share about their epic summer:

Adriel Nulud, 15 years old, Galileo Academy of Science and Technology:

“Land is Life was a blast. Land is Life is an internship sponsored by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that teaches kids about environmental racism, within the context of the SOMA neighborhood. Before I joined, I was only vaguely aware about the issues our community is facing, like gentrification and displacement, racial discrimination, and systems of oppression. This program opened my eyes and helped me realize that we all should come together as one to address these issues, so that our community can finally achieve justice and equity. Lastly, it showed us that leadership and teamwork is vital in our lives; with the help of others, we can achieve so much more, in ways that we can’t do alone as individuals. What I liked most about the program was all the group activities and projects, because through them I got to make new friends and have fun. I’m looking forward to joining again next year and meeting more people.”

Nikki Embalzado, 16 years old, John O'Connell Technical High School:

“One of the most memorable experiences I had this past summer was when we drove down to Los Angeles, California for a learning exchange trip with youth participants of the Sama-Sama Program at the Filipino Migrant Center. The trip was a chance for new and old YOHANA members to get to know each other and bond together while learning about the organizing work that Sama-Sama is doing around social justice issues. YOHANA presented our pedestrian and night safety campaign, while Sama-Sama presented their “Fund Schools, Not Militarization” campaign. The next day, the staff surprised us with a trip to Universal Studios! The Harry Potter ride made me dizzy. I was nervous to ride the roller coaster at first, but once it started it was so much fun. The best one for me was the Walking Dead ride, because my friends’ reactions were so funny. It was overall a very cool experience. On the third day, we took a jeepney tour of LA’s historic Filipinotown. Just like the jeepneys in the Philippines, we all had to squeeze to fit inside. The highlight of the tour was seeing the Filipino mural in the middle of Unidad Park. If I learned anything from our trip, it’s that the Filipino communities in LA and San Francisco share many similarities and struggles. As a result of the trip, we all grew much closer and feel ready to apply what we learned in the SOMA.”

Nov 2018Brandon Balidio