San Diego Youth Commission is back in business

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Speaker 1: (00:00)

Our young people are not only our future. They are also our gift with these words. Last summer, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced the return of the San Diego Youth Commission.

Speaker 2: (00:12)

They have opinions, ideas, solutions that we as a city should welcome, should invite to the table, should make room for, in order to guide us in decision-making in the city with the restoration of San Diego City Youth Commission, that seat at the table will now be available.

Speaker 1: (00:29)

It took several months for a group of students to be selected and hold the first meeting of the commission which took place last week and here is to tell us about it the president of the commission and high school student breeder Anusha Carala and Anusha. Welcome. Thanks Maureen. Now, what is your understanding of what the city’s youth commission was set up to do?

Speaker 3: (00:53)

So right now in San Diego we have over 450,000 young people. I think the main mission of the youth commission is simply to promote the participation of young people in the civic process of the city, right? We basically want to amplify the voices of young people. This way, we can make policy changes on issues that affect young people in San Diego.

Speaker 1: (01:18)

Now, what made you want to be part of the youth commission?

Speaker 3: (01:22)

My personal experience is working in diversion programs. I saw that I started working with children on a more individual level. I learned to understand their stories and their struggles. The first thing is that most issues and most problems occur at a systemic level. So with the mayor talking about the youth commission, what it does is it gives us the opportunity to, uh, look at issues that are really close to our hearts, like the Justice newspaper and to work on it at the political level. So, uh, I think it just provides an amazing opportunity. So when I heard about it, it was really exciting.

Speaker 1: (01:55)

So, as we mentioned last week, this was the first meeting of the commission. What happened at this meeting? So we had

Speaker 3: (02:02)

Our premiere on December 8th was a very productive meeting. The chairman of the board, uh, Shawn Rivera, came to give us a welcome speech, it was really great to have his support. Uh, one of the first steps we took as a commission, uh, was to establish a municipal code review subcommittee. And it was just so that we could update the municipal code with regard to the youth commission. We also got an update from the team that oversees the City of San Diego’s climate action plan, the city updated the climate action plan, and that was originally passed in 2015. And now it’s slated for updates in 2020. So, uh, the revised plan, which is sort of coming to its island stages and they’re soliciting, uh, input from the public. So it was great that they were able to come and introduce us and, and this initiative is called the, our climate, our future band. So, yeah, so exciting. And I think they’ll do a pretty good job of bringing San Diego toward that goal of net zero emissions by 2035.

Speaker 1: (03:03)

You mentioned that, uh, the new San Diego City Council, Chairman Sean ILA Rivera spoke at the Youth Commission meeting last week. Here’s a little what he had to say

Speaker 4: (03:13)

before being elected to the council. I was the executive director of an organization called Youth Will. And I got to see, you know, firsthand in that role, the genius of young people, not just that, it was creativity, but like really, really smart political analysis that’s grounded, that was grounded in, in their daily experiences.

Speaker 1: (03:35)

So that was City Council Chairman Sean Ila Rivera speaking at last week’s first meeting of the revived San Diego Youth Commission. Let’s talk about diversity, Tia. Who are some of the other students who are part of the youth commission with you?

Speaker 3: (03:49)

Basically, we have a very diverse group of commissioners. We have 18 commissioners in total, and one of the really great things is that they come from the nine just from San Diego. So we have a very representative group of students and not only are they diverse in terms of the regions and communities they come from, but they also have a very diverse set of interests and things they are passionate about. We have, uh, students who are really passionate about homelessness. We have, uh, students who are passionate about climate change, equity, justice issues, uh, students who have seen environmental and transportation issues in their communities. And they want to use this platform to, uh, talk about that, right? So there’s just a, a huge, uh, range of different issues that these commissioners are really interested in. And, uh, they’re all really excited to use their platform to, uh, make change in their communities in, in, in San Diego.

Speaker 1: (04:45)

Let’s talk about this platform. How and when will you present your ideas?

Speaker 3: (04:51)

The commission will simply work together to identify the issues that will be raised during our public hearings, correct? Uh, like through public comment or also just through our work, when we work with youth development organizations, uh, within the city. Uh, and then what we’re going to do is create, uh, targeted subcommittees to address specific issues that young people in San Diego are facing. Basically, the end product for these subcommittees will be like creating a policy report, uh, with rec recommendations that will be presented to the mayor and city council.

Speaker 1: (05:25)

How can people find out more about the commission and what it is

Speaker 3: (05:29)

Doing? We will update the San Diego website as it goes along with any work we do or any updates. Uh, we also have our quarterly public hearings which are open to the public and, and we strongly encourage young people to join. Er, at that time we will discuss all the updates that have happened. Uh, all the progress we’ve made through our subcommittees or through our value, we’ve collaborated with similar youth development organizations. So we will ensure that young people in San Diego are updated through these means. Uh, we also want to, uh, be active on social media and get our message out through those platforms as well.

Speaker 1: (06:06)

It’s a big job. And as you say, it’s very exciting Anusha. Um, let me just say, I spoke with Anusha Kala. She is president of the San Diego Youth Commission. Good luck. And thank you very much for speaking with us.

Speaker 3: (06:18)

Thank you.

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