Earlier this month, I was very excited to learn about these young people who are changing America for the better through what might seem like an unlikely route for someone so young: deep engagement in policymaking and governance in their communities and states.
Selected by the young members of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council, these 24 youth are working with lawmakers at various levels to improve policies and strengthen the systems that touch their lives. (Read more about the selection process.)
They have testified about HIV/AIDS in front of Presidential Commissions, been elected as voting members of their school boards and helped redesign foster care. They have crafted innovative approaches to solving the national debt, and worked with city and tribal governments to overhaul local environmental policies. And that's just naming a few.
“On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the triumph and courage of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and established our democracy,” says Alex Wirth, 19, chair of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council. “These 24 young people embody the can-do spirit of the founding fathers as they work to keep our democracy strong for generations to come.”
“This is especially important at a time when partisan divisions threaten the effectiveness of our government, and when conditions both real and perceived are alienating some young people from the political process,” says Avantika Krishna, 19, deputy director of the Campaign. “We must do better to make space for and engage young people in government. When young people are involved, the result is a better government for everyone.”
Congratulations to these inspiring young people. We know that rather than the exception, they are the norm, and represent only a tiny fraction all the amazing young people working to transform our communities and strengthen our democracy. This fourth of July we salute and celebrate every one of you!