Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer convened the first meeting of Council of Young Leaders of Manhattan yesterday at the Harlem State Office Building. The council, comprised of 53 young people who live or study in Manhattan, is Brewer’s new youth board, formed with the mission of empowering Manhattan youth to speak directly to government. The members were appointed by Brewer this spring through an open application process, much like Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board.
“Government needs to involve and listen to young New Yorkers. Young people can be relied on to generate new ideas adults wouldn’t have thought of, and they have even more of a stake in what government does than we do, because our decisions today shape the future they will inherit,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “For decades I’ve involved students and interns in my work, and I’ve consistently seen them come up with ambitious, creative ideas. It’s been my pleasure to appoint great groups of teens to our Community Boards, and through the Council of Young Leaders, we will give even more of our borough’s young people the tools and access they need to speak to their government.”
Of the 43 Manhattan residents on the board, 20 members are from Manhattan’s four northernmost Community Board districts covering Greater Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood. hail from 10 out of Manhattan’s 12 Community Board districts.
The inaugural slate appointed to the Council of Young Leaders features a diverse group young people aged 14-18. The council includes 42 Manhattan residents and an additional 11 members from other boroughs who attend school in Manhattan. Of the 43 Manhattan residents on the board, 20 members are from Manhattan’s four northernmost Community Board districts covering Greater Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood. hail from 10 out of Manhattan’s 12 Community Board districts. At 64 percent, women are the majority on the council, which is also racially diverse; the board’s membership is 32 percent latino/latina, 23 percent African-American or Caribbean, 23 percent white, and 11 percent East Asian or South Asian, with 11 percent identifying as mixed-race.
The council’s formation follows Brewer’s extensive recruitment of teens to serve on Community Boards since the enactment of state legislation allowing the appointment of two 16- to 17-year old members per Community Board. In each of the first two years after the new law took effect, Brewer has appointed six new Community Board members aged 16-17.
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Membership on the Council of Young Leaders of Manhattan is open to all young people ages 14-18 residing, studying, or working in the borough of Manhattan, with applications accepted on an annual basis.