Read on for how Generation Z is making a difference through the Multnomah Youth Commission.
As the past few years have demonstrated, teens have a lot to say — here’s looking at you Greta Thunberg, Marley Dias and Parkland, Florida shooting survivors — and we should all be listening. That’s why local organizations like the Multnomah Youth Commission (MYC) are vital in our community.
This year, the MYC is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The organization, housed within the City of Portland’s Office of Community and Civic Life and the Multnomah County Chair’s Office of Diversity and Equity, is Portland’s official youth-led advisory body. Teenagers and young adults, ages 13 to 21, apply to become members and collaborate with city and county offices on issues that matter to Generation Z. This includes research on how youth of color perceive law enforcement, youth-targeted COVID-19 mental health services, and later high school start times.
Becoming a teenage change agent is what inspired Daniel Interian to join three years ago. “Change has always been something I’ve heard about, especially for youth, but most of the change I saw and experienced was made by adult decision makers who decided what was ‘right’ for us from their points of view,” says the 17-year-old from Reynolds High School. “I wanted to be the one being able to stand up and use my voice to create change that myself and other youth felt necessary there needed to be.”
Kira Alberti, a rising junior at De La Salle North Catholic says that the MYC staff and fellow members were also welcoming and supportive when she joined as a new member last year. “They offered so much insight and different points of view, which has really changed my mindset for the better,” she says. Alberti is now a co-chair of the MYC and looks forward to working with this year’s new members.
“We are the future of this city,” adds four-year MYC member and co-chair Alvin Chan. “Decisions made by the government will affect us when our time comes. It is extremely important that youth voices are represented in decisions that will affect us in the future.”
2021-2022 MYC Members:
Arianna Perez Garcia
Maria Elena Mulul Yat
Terrance L. Burton