Redlands Youth Council engages students in local government


Empty Council Chambers as students waits for more to arrive along with the Council Member Denise Davis to begin the meeting (MAURICIO PLIEGO/Ethic News photo)

Council Member Denise Davis, who represents the first district in the city of Redlands, has started a group for the students of Redlands Unified School District, called the Redlands Youth Council.

A total of 30 students from various schools in the RUSD such as Citrus Valley High School, Redlands High School, Redlands East Valley High School, Loma Linda Academy and the Grove High School applied and were accepted into the program.

Since Davis, the director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of California, Riverside and adjunct faculty member at the University of Redlands, has recently been interested in having more people involved in the political process, she started the Redlands Youth Council.

Davis says, “I wish that I had more education on local government and civic engagement when I was in high school, so I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to engage with high school students in Redlands.”

Zaid Hintzman, a Redlands High School senior, is a member of the council, Redlands High School president of Speech and Debate and an organizer with GenVocal.

Hintzman says, “I was interested in the council because Councilwoman Davis seemed genuinely interested in empowering students to make changes.”

The purpose of the Redlands Youth Council is to educate students about local government and civic engagement. But, it is also a place where they can share concerns and work together to solve problems within the city.

Charles M. Duggan, the Redlands City Manager, is speaking to the students and answering their questions related to climate change and homelessness. Duggan oversees the different departments and manages the everyday operations of the city. (Photo courtesy of Denise Davis)

 Miyah Lopez and Mauricio Pliego stand with Denise Davis as leaders of the recent Students For Change movements in the Redlands Unified School District. (Photo courtesy of Taryn Thomas)

The council will have an indirect role in affecting decisions made within the city. Members of the council will have a chance to interact with other council members, city staff and others who impact the decisions within the city, according to Davis. 

She says, “The youth council will advise me on policy issues that they feel need to be addressed in the city of Redlands.”

One of the many members is Miyah Lopez, a senior at Citrus Valley. She is the executive director of Blackhawks for Change, a student-led initiative meant to bring awareness to social issues within the Citrus Valley campus and the city around it.

Lopez says, “I thought that it would be an amazing opportunity to be educated on the structure of local government and I wanted to make a change in our community. In this, I hope to increase the diversity in our system, increase racial equality in our community and try to make Redlands a safe place for all.”

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