This video is part of "Stepping Up," a short video series featuring four impressive young people working for real change in their communities and explaining what sparked them to action. Watch all four videos here.
Naudika W. was born in Oakland but spent much of her childhood living with her grandmother in Pacifica. As a mixed-race kid in a relatively affluent town with a tiny black population, she grew accustomed to what it felt like to be noticeably different from the people around her.
"I was one of the poor black kids living with a bunch of wealthy white kids," she remembers.
When she moved back to Oakland around 7th grade, she also grew increasingly aware of the stark educational disparities that exist between wealthier, mostly white communities and poorer communities of color.
"In Pacifica, everyone believed in me. Everyone knew they were going to go to college," said Naudika, who recently graduated from Oakland High School. "And I remember coming to Oakland, a lot of students were like: 'We're going to drop out, we're not going to make it.'