In a move to continue its renaissance, Newburgh held its first youth advisory committee meeting last Friday.
“The primary focus is for the folks, the young people of the City of Newburgh,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey. “We want to give them a voice in government.” According to Harvey, the idea for the youth advisory committee has been in fruition for over a year.
“They are the leaders of tomorrow but they are leading with action today,” said Harvey. In an effort to shine a spotlight on the youth, the front center row of the meeting was filled with city youth.
“I had our children, the youth, sit up front on purpose,” said Councilman Anthony Grice. “Because they are the stars of the show.”
The meeting discussed various topics like the mission of the committee, the upcoming youth summit, and future ideas for the committee.
Chandra James will help lead the youth advisory committee. James said that the committee will utilize social media heavily to help get its message out. The committee will begin to strategize for a city wide youth summit. James said adults interested in partnering with the committee will be screened heavily before being accepted.
The board for the committee will have between nine to eleven members. Members will be brought on the board via an election. There will be a president, vice president, and a recording secretary. The board will not have a treasurer, because it is an advisory board to the city government. The board will have to partner with an outside organization for fundraising, donations, and beyond.
Youth from other areas are not excluded from the committee. But, only City of Newburgh youth can serve on the board of the youth advisory committee.
In an effort to teach youth about professionalism, there will be an agenda at each meeting and minutes taken. Harvey said he’s looking into adding a permanent place before public comment into the city council agenda for the youth advisory board committee to speak on its work.
“The main thing, when we look at super objectives, is to get rid of and hopefully minimize the violence in our city,” said Harvey.
“We really want to make sure our youth have a voice,” said Grice. “For a very long time that’s not been happening.” The committee is an effort to give the city’s youth an activity that actually has a positive impact.
“We have to bring the change,” said Jaquan Boykin, a youth minister in the city. “The only way for us to bring the change is if all of us come together. We can sit here and do all that we’re doing, but if we don’t come together as a community, we will be in the same place.”
Boykin said that most of the attendees are privileged enough to not have to interact with the crime and poverty in the city. Boykin said that after finding religion he discovered that he needed to be a voice for his community.
“We got to bring a change to the streets,” said Boykin. “We got to go into the streets.”
Boykin believes that the committee needs to go and meet young people that are most affected by crime and poverty.
“We want to know what’s the next move,” said Boykin. “What’s the next agenda for us to get together and do right.”
Boykin emphasized that many of the youth involved in crimes don’t have a solid support system.“After they put that gun down,” said Boykin. “What do they have, who do they have to come to?”
James said the committee will conduct town halls for youth to talk about their needs.
Although the next youth advisory committee meeting’s date wasn’t set yet at the meeting, it will be held in the second ward. The meeting will be a round table meeting with refreshments.
Next steps for the committee will be setting a target age for members, recruitment, forming the board, holding the youth summit, and setting a platform.