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Garcetti joins other mayors in youth empowerment pledge

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti joined U.S. Conference of Mayors President Bryan Barnett and a coalition of more than two dozen other mayors July 26 to sign the Mayors’ Compact on Youth Councils.

The pledge commits each mayor to empower local youth and develop their leadership skills by creating formal opportunities to bring them to the table in city governments. The group convened at the U.S. Conference of Mayors first-ever Youth Summit, which brought together more than 150 young leaders and mayors from across the country at the JW Marriott Downtown hotel.

The document serves as a commitment between mayors and youth to ensure younger voices are a meaningful part of the political dialogue. 

The compact reads, in part, “The youth of our country today and the young people of the coming generations will face the brunt of the political challenges we fail to address today. Thankfully, the young people across our country are responding to these challenges, showing up ready to lead.”

“We are learning so much from an incredible generation of young leaders, whose ideas are driving change and helping to uplift and inform communities across America,” Garcetti said. “The diversity of background and perspective at this week’s conference reminds us of a powerful truth: when young people have a seat at the table, there is no limit to what they can achieve.”

“It is powerful to hear the passion and thoughtfulness of the young people here, said Barnett, the mayor of Rochester Hills, Minnesota. “Like true leaders, they don’t just accept reality, they are here to change it. 

“The mayors here learned as much as we shared, and this summit is the beginning of a great partnership between mayors and America’s youth. What we have started in Los Angeles will not stop here,” Barnett added.

“Young people are not just our future, they are our today,” said Shane Bemis, mayor of Gresham, Oregon, and chair of the Youth Involvement Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “What America’s mayors want the youth to know is that we stand with them. And that’s because our democracy is stronger when all voices are participating. 

“This is the stuff that matters. These young people want to make this place a better country for everyone, and we are here to help them make that a reality,” Bemis added.

Garcetti already has created a Youth Council, which teaches more than 200 students from every corner of Los Angeles about civic engagement and how to get involved in local causes.

He also has created a Youth Council to End Gun Violence, a group of young Angelenos who led a successful public awareness campaign on gun issues and advised the mayor on steps to strengthen public safety in schools and across communities.

The youth summit brought together more than 100 young people and youth activists — ages 16 to 22 — representing more than 20 different states as well as 30 mayors from cities across the country. 

Wave Staff Report