Shreya Pugalia of Franklin High School joined 1,000 students — the largest class ever — from every state in the country for the opportunity to engage with lawyers and political activists on social justice, to build expertise and knowledge in advocacy, to participate in debates, and to develop successful media and social networking strategies, while observing policy development on Capitol Hill.

The American Civil Liberties Union hosted the annual Summer Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. for rising junior and senior high school students and gave them the tools they need to engage in their communities on issues around civil liberties and civil rights.

From July 18-25, participating students will receive first-hand learning experience from lawyers, lobbyists, community activists, and other experts dedicated to defending these constitutional rights.

Sign Up for E-News

Students will engage in classroom sessions, lectures, daily debates, workshops, and meetings with elected officials and congressional staff.

The week will culminate with a lobby day on Capitol Hill today, July 24, where these young activists will be able to speak with their members of Congress about the family separation crisis.

They will then join the entire class for a rally in front of the Capitol to tell Congress #FamiliesBelongTogether.  

This year’s Summer Institute speakers include: