Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams joined educators, community leaders and advocates in the rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall on Tuesday to urge teenagers to take advantage of a new state law that now allows them to become members of the city’s community boards. The call to action came days before an organizational meeting for young people, scheduled for today at 6 p.m. in the Al Vann Library of Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Adams spoke about his call for greater youth involvement in civic matters, part of his proposed community board reforms. “Community boards are the true heartbeat of this city, because they are in touch with grassroots priorities more than any other level of local government,” said he said. “Teenagers play a vitally important role in our communities, and it’s time they sit on these boards as well, so our government reflects the opinions of all people.”
Under a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, borough presidents can appoint up to two teenagers over the age of 16 to each community board in New York City, marking a historic expansion of potential members. Community boards have a variety of responsibilities, including dealing with land use and zoning issues, assessing the needs of their own neighborhoods and addressing other community concerns. The law was passed with the support of a City Council resolution, at the request of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, which was jointly sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos, Mark Levine and Ritchie Torres.
"Young people need to get into the game of life sooner rather than later,” said Akosua K. Albritton, chair of Brooklyn Community Board 8’s Youth and Family Services Committee. “I have been encouraging my committee members to bring teens to the committee meetings."
The new law also received support from Al Kurland of the Police Athletic League (PAL), along with Sarah Andes of Generation Citizen – who last year initiated socially responsible curricular projects in 52 city high schools. Support also came from Alan Schulman, program director for the Center for the Study and Practice of Social Studies, which is part of the Association of Teachers of Social Studies.