Over the summer the Multnomah Youth Commission’s Retreat Planning Committee met every Thursday to plan for our annual retreat. While planning for the retreat, the committee also organized three summer hangouts for new and returning MYCers to engage; we enjoyed a hike at Wahclella Falls in the gorge, held a leadership training to help incoming members better understand how we do our work and to feel empowered through their voices and stories, and lastly, we held a scavenger hunt in downtown Portland to build relationships with each other while learning about our city (and to enjoy some sweet popsicles on a hot day). During the summer we received training from Tamara Lynne, Director of Living Stages, on Theatre of the Oppressed/Training of the Trainer workshop. We thank Tamara for a liberating and enlightening workshop. To end the summer off, we held our MYC retreat from September 9-11th at Oral Hull Foundation for The Blind in Sandy, Oregon. We believe it is important to be grounded in social justice values and frameworks as we do our work, therefore at our retreat MYCers learned about the MYC as we explored hard topics such as systems of oppression, power & privilege, racism, cis sexism and much more! We were also able to successfully foster new friendships and leaders.
On September 27th 2016, to start off our year, we had our annual Swearing-In Ceremony. This was an important milestone for all of us, especially since we are entering our 20th year! The same week, we began our official weekly committee meetings as well as our bi-weekly Sunday meetings. These meetings are where we do the bulk of our work. Earlier in the year, the MYC applied to be a part of a Youth Equity Collaborative convened by Momentum Alliance that comes with $5,000 funding. The organizations a part of this collaborative include OPAL Environmental Justice/YEJA, CAPACES Leadership Institute: Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), and TURNO, and Oregon Student Association/Oregon Students of Color Coalition. We had our second meeting in September where we talk about our mission as a collaborative. As we kick off the new year of MYC work, we’re feeling enthusiastic about the impact we are going to make on the lives of young people in our city! We can’t wait to see all the amazing work that this group is going to do and couldn’t be more thrilled!
Lashawn McCarthy (he/him) & Lexi Moyer (they/them)
MYC Co-Chairs, 2016-2017
On Tuesday September 27th, we officially welcomed our new 2016-17 Multnomah Youth Commission Members through our annual swearing-in ceremony by County and City officials. We also took the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of the past year and plans for this upcoming year. We had the honor of having elected officials from both the City and County present including County Commissioners Diane McKeel and Loretta Smith, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, and Portland City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick.
Additionally, this year the Youth Against Violence Committee created a “Draw My Life” video outlining the history of the committee since its inception in 2011. If you missed it, you can watch it on our YouTube page. Our community partner Erin Fairchild, Director of Multnomah County’s Defending Childhood Initiative (DCI) spoke about the work DCI has been doing in partnership with Youth Against Violence’s Sexual and Dating Violence sub-committee, which includes a sexual abuse training video for police officers in the City of Portland. Current MYCers Reyna Tapia and Gabe Abdellatif spoke about the impact MYC has had on their lives and the communities they represent. We are grateful to all the people that attended and support Multnomah Youth Commission. If you missed this event, check out some pictures here.
What has a head, a tail, is brown, and has no legs?
Answer to last newsletter’s riddle: A stamp
Name: Ryan McBee (he/him)
Years on the MYC: 2007-2010
1.) Tell us about yourself (Who are you? What do you do? I graduated from Western Oregon University in the Spring of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I’m a native Portlander and am passionate about civic engagement.
2.) How did your experience on the MYC help shape your goals? What skills did you gain on the MYC that are important in your life now?
My ideal job/career goal is to become an elected official. I feel the MYC helped me gain an understanding of what it takes to be an elected official. As an MYC member, you have a constituency, policy goals, and a team of colleagues who you work with to address constituent and policy needs. I was able to take both the experience of being on the MYC and my enthusiasm for public service with me to college, serving my entire undergrad career at Western Oregon University in campus hall government.
3.) What do you remember most vividly about your time on the MYC? Do you have a favorite memory? I always enjoyed the fall retreats. They were a great opportunity for the MYC to meet each other, learn how the City and County work, and to plan the MYC goals for the year ahead. One memory that comes to mind at the fall retreats is that of the Challenge Course. We had the ability to participate in a ropes course challenge, climbing a 40 foot tree and jumping off a platform. It was a great team building activity.
4.) What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy spending time with friends and family, going camping in Oregon (both to the coast and central Oregon). I am also an active member in the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon (NFBO), an advocacy group of blind Oregonians. I am the legislative chair for the NFBO, and work with state legislators and our congressional delegation on issues affecting blind Oregonians.
Name: Tana McKenna Barnett (they/them)
Years on MYC: 2
School: Mt. Hood Community College
How did you hear about the MYC?: I heard about MYC through my very flustered principal on the day a few representatives of the 2014-2015 cycle came to my high school to recruit new members.
What made you apply?: I could see that all of the young people involved were clearly extremely invested the work, and not just in doing it themselves but ensuring that it could be passed on to other youth in the community. Thanks to my recent experiences as an Outdoor School student leader, I felt like I wanted to challenge myself to continue bettering my community and to push myself further in my leadership abilities.
Tell us about yourself: I've already told you a lot, but I am gender fluid and use they/them pronouns, I've spoken for Friends of Outdoor School at numerous events, and I plan to major in Youth Mental Health, Addiction, and Social Services and to continue my education at a 4-year university, where I hope to primarily study cultural anthropology.
Favorite memory in MYC: Celebrating my 19th birthday with Ed/YV members last year by going out for cupcakes with vegan frosting from Safeway.
What would people be surprised to know about you?: I'm really obsessed with fantasy novels. If there are magic and mythical creatures, I'm probably a fan.
Education/Youth Voice by Shayla Zhen (she/her)
During the month of September, Education/Youth Voice committee introduced new members to the work to help them understand the scope of our work, its history and where we are headed. We discussed the next steps for implementation of our policy recommendation to push back school start times. We are currently working to identify our allies in the community that can help move our work forward. Our committee is also working with Commissioner Novick and staff Andrea Valderrama on pushing back the time school starts for PPS high schools. Our plan this year is to continue our social media campaign and get the word out about our policy recommendation that school should start later than it does now. Lastly, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) engaged with the youth commission over the summer to talk about our partnership and future work together, as well as exploring ways in which a SUN youth council could come to fruition. The ED/YV committee will be meeting with representatives from SUN to continue this conversation. We are very excited for the year ahead and have a lot of work to do.
Sustainability by Jessica Monje-Perez (she/her)
The Sustainability Committee is excited to start a new year with our new members. So far we have been reviewing our past work with new members. Our two liaisons for TriMet’s Transit Equity Advisory Committee (TEAC) are Eric Sosa-Lesso and Hannah Kelly. They will be attending the meetings and representing youth transit riders. These meetings will allow us to provide our perspectives and input in the decisions and conversations about TriMet’s work. We also plan to deepen our relationship with our partner organization, OPAL’s Youth Environmental Justice Alliance (YEJA). One of our members also accompanied YEJA to a meeting with Commissioner Fritz in support of sustaining and expanding YouthPass to David Douglas and Parkrose. Since our ultimate goal is to get transit pass free for all youth, we believe it’s important to work together with YEJA in this advocacy as well. Currently, we are in the process of making our work plan for the year. Our next step is to reach out to our partners and supporters in hopes to continue our advocacy for transit passes for youth experiencing houselessness. I leave you with Sustainability’s sign off: “Sustain and maintain!”
Youth Against Violence by Shiva Bharadwaj (he/him)
We began the year introducing several new Youth Commissioners to the history and purpose of the Youth Against Violence (YAV) committee. In the summer, members of YAV created a “Draw YAV’s Life” video, to educate new members and others about the history of the committee, including past endeavors and accomplishments. Some of our members attended a workshop by Living Stages to improve their facilitation skills. In September, YAV revisited the youth-adult expectations we created last year and put together goals for this new school year. We are currently in the process of meeting with members of the Portland Police Bureau to further strengthen our connections from last year and incorporate their ideas into our future work. We are also introducing new members to the updated Youth-Police Workshops we created toward the end of last year. We are currently reaching out to local organizations where we feel youth might most benefit from our Youth-Police Workshop series. We are excited for a successful year and to forge bonds with both new and returning members!