IGNITE the Capitol

 In guest post, non-profit, philanthropy

Blog post on a visit to a PVF grantee partner, by Savannah Lira, PVF Program Officer

On April 22nd, I had the opportunity to join IGNITE for a full day of advocacy at the California state capitol at their annual IGNITE the Capitol event in Sacramento. 

Since their inception in 2010, IGNITE has trained 30,000+ young women and non-binary individuals to discover and flex their political power. From a small pilot program in Oakland, California, IGNITE has become the nation’s leading organization harnessing political ambition, community building and leadership skills among young women and girls. At IGNITE the Capitol, I saw all of this in action.

100+ young women from middle school through college and beyond gathered together at the California Endowment Center to learn why it’s important to contact our legislators and discover how to advocate effectively and participate in the lawmaking process.


We had the opportunity to hear four incredible student activists speak about their activism work, sharing how they got involved and what impacts they have achieved from using their voice to advocate for the issues they care about.

Kate Rogers (below, right) is a junior at UCLA and the Co-Chief of Policy for Generation UP, an entirely student-led advocacy organization that strives to advocate for education through the power of youth voices and a partner of IGNITE. Throughout this year, Kate has testified to the California State Assembly’s Higher Education Committee on behalf of several comprehensive Title IX bills intended to prevent and address sexual discrimination and harassment in California colleges and universities.

Jeewan Kaur (below, far left) is a student at Berkeley City College and a member of IGNITE. As a woman in STEM, she has encountered sexism and discrimination at various points of her academic journey and in April 2024, she testified to the California State Assembly’s Higher Education Committee on behalf of AB 2492, a bill working to establish confidential student advocates, confidential staff and faculty advocates, and confidential respondent services coordinators to assist students, faculty, or staff who have filed a complaint of sex discrimination, experienced sex discrimination, or are accused of sex discrimination at California community colleges, CSUs and UCs.


Fiona Lu (below, middle) is a senior at Northwood High School in Irvine, CA and the Chief Policy and Legislative Director of GenUP. She is a student representative on the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Youth Advisory Council, where she and 11 other students advise policymakers and educators towards implementing equitable practices in the education system. She is also involved in the California Association of Student Councils (CASC) as the State Vice President where she oversees the organization’s state-wide efforts, including leadership conference planning, legislative platform, and student engagement. 

Sriya Srinivasan is a sophomore at Early College High School in the Bay Area. Recently, she and dozens of her peers started advocating for comprehensive menstrual education, resulting in Assemblywoman Lori Wilson, who represents District 11, introducing Assembly Bill 2229, which proposes adding menstrual health education for middle and high school students.


After hearing from these inspiring young women, we all split into groups to meet with our individual legislators and legislative aides at the State Capitol where we were able to voice our concerns and visions to the elected leaders. We championed a handful of California specific bills, including SB 953 (the Period Equity Now Bill) and AB 2229 (the Know Your Period Act mentioned above). 

IGNITE and their partners are doing incredible work encouraging young women and female-identifying individuals to raise their voices and own their political power. If you’d like to learn more about how you can join the movement, please visit https://ignitenational.org for voting resources, advocacy information and ways to partner with IGNITE.

“Together, we fight for a better tomorrow.”


Photos courtesy of IGNITE.

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