Three Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Wednesday to create a youth council similar to one created by former Mayor Tom Bradley, which two of the council members served on.
The motion, introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Councilmen Mark Ridley-Thomas and Paul Koretz, would instruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to create the “Olivia Mitchell Youth Council” made up of two youth representatives from each Los Angeles council district.
The council would be similar to the Youth Advisory Council that Bradley established in 1974, and it would be named for Mitchell, who oversaw the council.
That youth council, which Ridley-Thomas and Koretz served on, met monthly, allowing youth representatives to learn about city issues, engage with elected officials and make policy recommendations to the City Council.
According to Rodriguez’ office, Mitchell had a passion for educating young people in Los Angeles and her work impacted thousands of people.
“As a result of Mayor Bradley’s efforts to engage youth and Olivia Mitchell’s leadership, I was selected to participate in Student Day in Government in 1992, and that early introduction ignited my passion for city service and fuels my work to reform and to hold ourselves accountable for investments in youth that are commensurate with public safety investments, to help them achieve their full potential,” Rodriguez said.
“Her work and mentorship has impacted thousands and this new youth council will ensure her legacy inspiring our youth to embrace a life of service and engagement with city government will continue.”
Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who served on the youth council, said: “One of the best investments we can make for the future is an investment in our youth. For me and so many others who’ve become public officials, community leaders, and change agents, it started with the Youth Advisory Council.
“No one was more instrumental in the Youth Council’s success than Olivia Mitchell. It’s suiting for it to be named in her honor, and it’s time to bring back a space for young people who have a desire to make a difference in our communities and our city at-large,” he added.
Councilman Paul Koretz, who was also part of the Youth Advisory Council, said the group under Mitchell’s leadership “was my first opportunity to participate in government as a young person. Her guidance and mentorship helped get me involved in what would be a lengthy career in public service. I will always be grateful to her.”
Former council members Tom LaBonge and Wendy Greuel were also alumni of the program.