Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Revived Youth Commission Starts Its Work

Milwaukee County revives youth leadership program, and gives members a list of things to work on.

By - Jan 26th, 2023 08:42 pm
Milwaukee County Youth Commission. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County Youth Commission. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Members of the new Milwaukee County Youth Commission were sworn in Wednesday during a ceremony at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

The 18 youth commissioners include 16 representatives from the districts of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and two co-chairs appointed by County Executive David Crowley and Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson.

The commission briefly ran approximately two decades ago but was eventually discontinued. Crowley and Nicholson revived the commission and gave the young people a wider set of responsibilities. Commissioners, who will be paid $12.50 an hour for their work on the commission, will review proposals from youth organizations, make advisory recommendations on policy and budget proposals that affect young people, work on developing a county take-a-child-to-work day and have opportunities to advise the county executive and board chairwoman on county policy.

The commissioners took their oath of office from Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley. But before that, co-chairs Mia Moore and Aaron Lee offered some initial remarks for their colleagues, as well as the family, friends and elected and county officials that gathered in county board room for their swearing-in.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be co-chair,” Moore said. “I look forward to being able to amplify youth voices, because lots of times young people are not at the forefront of decision making, power and policy.”

Lee said the commission gave them an opportunity to advocate for change, and said he planned to use his new role to “make sure we all have equitable access to opportunities.” He noted that the youth are “not only the future but the present of Milwaukee County.”

Nicholson and Crowley also delivered remarks.

“The new commission is close to my heart,” Nicholson said. “From my time working in the classroom as a fourth-grade teacher I know firsthand how many bright, creative, talented young people there are in Milwaukee County.”

The chairwoman noted that often the stories about young people that grace the evening news are not always positive. “Yes, there are challenges, but today we acknowledge and celebrate the many young Milwaukeeans who are stepping up to make a real difference.”

Nicholson told the commissioners to support and learn from one another during this experience. “Each of you have incredible strengths, talents and experiences to bring to the table.”

Crowley said the commission represented “some of the best and brightest minds in our area.”

The county executive was a youth commissioner during the first iteration in the ’00s. “And so it is with great honor, I have this opportunity to help revive this,” he said, “because I truly believe in our young people.” The county executive said serving on the commission gave him his first experience working in government and set him on his path to public service.

Giving young people and opportunity to become engaged in decision making makes it “more representative of our entire community and our entire community benefits,” the county executive said. “And we need that benefit right now as our community is facing troubling trends and opportunity gaps that break down along race, ethnicity, and gender.”

Crowley’s message to the young people was about the necessity of adequate representation for a functioning democracy. He said that underrepresentation in civic and political life lies at the heart of many of society’s inequities. “Too often those voices go unheard; their problems, they go unaddressed, and a vicious cycle of disengagement and neglect perpetuates the problems that we see each day,” he said.

The county executive encouraged the commissioners to be themselves and bring their unique perspectives to the table. He also quoted Yoda, from The Empire Strikes Back (“Do or do not. There is no try.”) Telling the new commissioners that in order to succeed they will need to get comfortable with the prospect of failure. “Because when you fall, you don’t try to get back up, otherwise, you’re still down, you do get back up.”

The county executive closed by offering his congratulations to the youth commissioners. “And no, you don’t have to be nervous because you are walking in your purpose and you are here for a reason.”

Co-Chair: Mia Moore

Co-Chair: Aaron Lee

District 1- Tess Bruett

District 2- Loren Muwonge

District 3- Storm Findley

District 4- Shakiya Snow

District 5- Destiny Anglin

District 6- Margaret “Daisy” Lehman

District 7- Ezran Anastas

District 9- Kassidy Gindt

District 10- Bujana Ntabala

District 11- Nolan Weber

District 12- Analiyah Roschke

District 13- D’Mario J. Cockfield

District 14- Benjamin Elko

District 15- Sean P. Libal

District 17- Kalyah Mason Davis

District 18- Nathan W. Acosta

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Categories: MKE County, Politics

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