Pacifica High School student delivers soapbox speech in Washington, D.C.

A high schooler from Garden Grove recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to deliver a speech in historic Lafayette Square as part of the American Soapbox Initiative.

Megan McCall, a senior at Pacifica High School, spoke about the importance of student self-advocacy in securing academic aid during a trip organized by Action Civics LA, an initiative of Mikva Challenge. The nonprofit organization, which helps young people become informed, empowered and active citizens and community leaders, sent nearly 30 students to D.C. — including five from Southern California — over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

Along with presenting their American Soapbox speeches on Jan. 15, the young orators toured historic monuments, memorials and museums in the nation’s capital. They also participated in a youth summit to dialogue with local community advocates and activists.

Participants earned their way by identifying a concern and turning it into an impassioned speech, according to Sheila McMullin, program coordinator for Action Civics LA. Megan researched her topic in an after-school civics club. She later wrote and revised remarks and performed a speech in front of her fellow students. A video was later submitted to the American Soapbox Initiative.

In case you’re curious about the name, soapboxes were used in the 19th and early 20th centuries as literal platforms for speakers to deliver impromptu addresses about political issues and other hot topics. And with that, we’ll get off our metaphorical soapbox and show you a brief excerpt of Megan’s speech in Washington.