(SACRAMENTO, CA, 8/6/2018) – The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) recently hosted 45 high school students during its 15th annual Muslim Youth Leadership Program (MYLP) at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

The program began Thursday, Aug. 1, and concluded Sunday, Aug. 4.

VIEW: Photos from MYLP

MYLP is an intensive retreat in Sacramento designed to introduce American Muslim high school students to the areas of media, law and government – avenues that shape public opinion and public policy.

High school students from across the state participated in workshops on community organizing, leadership development and public speaking.

The participants, who have shown exemplary leadership skills in their own communities, participated in a mock legislative session, serving as legislators as they debated public policy issues and prepared bills to be presented on the State Capitol Assembly floor.The mock legislative session allowed participants to gain a deeper, practical understanding of how bills are reviewed and laws are passed in the California Legislature.

“We are honored to be able to offer our youth such an in-depth, hands-on learning experience,” said Basim Elkarra, executive director of CAIR-Sacramento Valley/Central California and chairman of MYLP. “Our hope is that participants use the skills they gain in our program to empower their peers and community members. These future leaders inspire us with their passion to make a difference!”

More than 500 California students have participated in MYLP since its first conference in 2005.

Many of the program’s graduates have moved on to become community activists and have taken on groundbreaking leadership roles.