Last week, I attended the US Conference of Mayors Youth Summit in Los Angeles with two young ladies from Richmond and Mayor’s Staff Member Ruben Hernandez Story. Below is a description of the event from the US Conference of Mayors:
First-Ever Conference of Mayors Youth Summit Brings Coalition for Mayors and Youth Bipartisan Action
Our first-ever Mayors National Youth Summit in Los Angeles last week brought hundreds to a meeting of mayors and youth, centering on building effective youth councils, strengthening a culture of public service and voter registration, and organizing town halls.
Youth leaders and mayors came together in a most give-and-take kind of way. There was energy coming from the floor as NYU Wagner Professor Gordon Campbel was peppering participants with questions and ideas in every general session. The sessions were lively and no one held back on their views and suggestions on how mayors and youth leaders can work together in their respective cities.
At a press conference, like none we have ever had before, mayors and youth leaders were open in telling the public that the meeting in Los Angeles was the beginning of more joint activities and projects. All the mayors signed a compact to go home and create or strengthen their youth councils to be a significant part of their cities and also to get more youth at the table in the decision-making process because mayors after the mayor called on them to lead.
The genesis for this summit came from the work of Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis who was appointed in 2018 by Immediate Past President Columbia, SC Mayor Steve Benjamin to chair our Youth Involvement Task Force. After bringing students to Boston for our 86th Annual Meeting last year, it was decided that we call for our first-ever Mayors National Youth Summit. Mayor Bemis is to be credited for the hard work he contributed and kudos to Conference staffer James Kirby who was tenacious and focused on making this meeting the success we experienced. We thank also Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who endorsed our summit and whose presence and contributions added so much.
This was the first event presided over by our new President, Rochester Hills, MI Mayor Bryan Barnett. He did a great job in instilling his leadership and humor into our sessions. He has a strong youth council and they were with him, making a significant contribution to the event. Mayor Barnett said at the opening of the event that the summit will not be the last and he announced that we will have an annual Mayors National Youth Summit in our future.
This historic meeting was more than a meeting. It is a bipartisan youth movement that will be carried forward to encourage youth public service in our cities. As President Barnett stated, we will hold another Mayors National Youth Summit next year and we will infuse the youth into our 88th Winter Meeting in January 2020, amplifying how the youth of our nation are working together with mayors to strengthen our cities and also giving thousands of youth in our nation the opportunity for public service.
As Mayor Bemis has said, the youth are not just our future, they are our today. And as President Barnett has promised, our organization will continue to bring the energy of the Mayors National Youth Summit in Los Angeles last week forward into the dynamic and active years ahead of us.
If you have questions about how your city can be involved with the Youth Involvement Task Force, please contact our lead staffer on this issue, James Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-861-6759.
Figure 1 – Registration at the Youth Summit
Figure 2 - Richmond Youth Leaders Fatima Lopez and Ashlee Davis. Fatima is attending Stanford this fall, and Ashlee will attend Mills College after two years at Berkeley City College. Both are members of the Richmond Youth Council.
Figure 3 - Ruben took us out for ice cream at his favorite shop
Figure 4 - Ashlee and Fatima getting down to business
Figure 5 - The opening event at Lucky Strike Bowling Alley