Minneapolis Mayor-Elect Betsy Hodges recently announced her transition committee. You can read more about what the committee does and whom it includes at the Southwest Minneapolis Patch.
I was excited to see some people who have built a great reputation in our communities–the group represents a variety of sectors, including community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, unions and others.
The only thing missing is young people.
I know the Hodges team attempted to include young people, but that somehow fell through.
Announcing this transition committee is one of the first acts the mayor-elect has made. It is also highly symbolic and sets the stage for what kind of mayor she will be. Candidate Betsy Hodges showed leadership through her plan to better educate all students by focusing on children. During her campaign, candidate Hodges spoke and interacted with not only young campaign volunteers, but also young people she met (I saw it myself multiple times).
My fear is that this decision, intentional or not, will continue a sad pattern in which young people are viewed as unimportant, cannot be part of big decisions, and are always left for the last minute. Hodges has shown that she values young people in the past. In her first act as our future mayor, though, she missed the chance to truly demonstrate to young people in Minneapolis how important they are from the get-go. This has left many young people in Minneapolis wondering if decisions directly affecting them will continue to be made without them.
I am unsure about how these committees work, but I am sure Mayor-elect Hodges can still appoint young people to this committee. This is an opportunity to continue to put young people at the forefront. And Young people are always eager to participate in designing their future.
I wish the mayor-elect well as she begins this new journey. I look forward to seeing her prioritize having young people at the table in her future decisions (staff, committees, etc), because her vision for One Minneapolis has always included us.