In a world where our most challenging issues pose a larger threat to our future than our present, is it not essential to give the youth a voice in the discussion?
19 months ago, I helped start the Westchester Youth Congress (WYC), a non-partisan and youth-run civic group to do this exact thing: amplify the voices of youth activists. With the help of fellow co-presidents, Avik Agarwal and Dylan Johns, and our mentor, Lucas Cioffi, our group provides a platform for 25 passionate high-school activists from Greenburgh to discuss and take action on issues that matter in our community.
Our work has connected us with other local organizations as well as our local elected officials, including Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and County Legislator Maryjane Shimsky. It has shown us the power a platform for youth activism can hold, and the amazing opportunities that come from giving others the ability to work with young people, especially on important issues.
Though our initiatives vary from project to project, our mission is always the same: getting youth leaders involved in the discussions that foster actionable change in the community. From our first project, a Pandemic Safety PSA, to our most recent, a Candidate Forum for our local Greenburgh Town Supervisor race, we center our actions on amplifying the youth voice and leaving a positive mark on the community.
Incorporating the youth voice is necessary if we want to work towards a better future. The reason why is simpler than it may seem. We are inspired by the amazing community around us, and that inspiration, paired with our deep passion, is the driving force in our activism. When we are able to couple these with the experience and resources of adults and professional organizations, we can bring truly powerful change to our community.
Creating this change starts with each of us doing our part. By taking the time to listen to youth activists, like those in the Westchester Youth Congress, our community will greatly benefit from the progress that will soon follow. The first step is to support our efforts, and that is no difficult task. By attending the Westchester Youth Congress’s first ever Candidate Forum, between Tasha Young and Paul Feiner, this upcoming April 12th, you will have made that first step, and in doing so, will open up the door for the youth voice to enter the discussions surrounding our future.