Juniors Ryan Hunt and Kian Nouri are among two dozen teens serving on the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission (YAC), advising the City Council on key policy issues affecting youth and meeting with civic leaders to advocate for youth needs.
The YAC tackles issues of importance to youth and is committed to increasing opportunities for youth participation in civic engagement and youth leadership and empowerment.
Members (ranging in age from 13 to 21) are appointed by the Mayor and City Council for two year terms and meet twice a month.
Both Ryan and Kian hold committee positions – Ryan is the government affairs officer and Kian is the media and public relations officer – which require attendance at additional meetings.
“I saw this as a good way to get involved in Oakland and learn more about parliamentary procedure,” Ryan said.
Kian saw the opportunity as a way to have a say in decisions made that affect the youth of Oakland. “A lot of youth don’t get to have a voice,” he said.
A couple of months ago the YAC members endorsed a “yes” vote on Measure HH, The Soda Tax, Ryan said. “It’s great to know my voice is being heard and that I’m having a positive impact on my community,” he said.
Looking ahead, the group is deciding what their focus will be for the next two years. Issues under consideration include youth homelessness, Black Lives Matter and the Dream Act.
Whatever the group decides, Kian is excited to get started. “I’m looking forward to getting out into the community and doing work,” he said.