The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously voted 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, instructed 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 will be similar to the Youth Advisory Council that Bradley established in 1974, and it will be named for Mitchell, who oversaw the council.
“Today’s vote will memorialize the great work which commenced back in 1974 in the office of Mayor Tom Bradley, where a woman by the name of Miss Olivia Mitchell, who many of us certainly have a great affinity and affection for and rightfully so,” Rodriguez told the City Council before the vote Tuesday.
“The creation of the Olivia Mitchell Youth Council will formally memorialize an opportunity to invite young people to be part of their city government.”
The previous 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.
According to Rodriguez’ office, Mitchell had a passion for educating youth 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 in February after introducing the motion.
“One of the best investments we can make for the future is an investment in our youth,” Ridley-Thomas said in February. “For me and so many others who’ve become public officials, community leaders, and change agents, it started with the Youth Advisory Council.”
Koretz 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.