This past month of April, IMAN staff and youth leaders were really busy, in Springfield and Downtown Chicago, pushing on three pieces of legislation: Juvenile Arrest Expungement (HB 4084), Common Sense School Discipline (SB 3004/HB 4655), and Youth Employment Funding. These particular bills are very important for IMAN’s youth leaders and for the overall community on the City’s Southwest Side; the work to try and pass these bills, and their passage, will allow our youth leaders to make progress toward a better future for themselves and their communities. IMAN’s Youth Council has been leading all of our efforts to make sure these three bills get support from key legislators; the Youth Council has also had critical support in these efforts from our adult leaders.
The two trips down to Springfield in April and the one to Downtown Chicago to participate in Senator Mattie Hunter’s youth jobs hearings, have all been opportunities for leadership development and more for the Youth Council members. More than that, they have been about establishing real leadership within IMAN and making sure the organization continues to be an ally to our city-wide alliance (UCCRO) and to support key education bills with other youth entities like VOYCE Chicago.
In 2008, IMAN formally institutionalized the Youth Council as an organizing arm within the Youth department. The Youth Council meets once a week and is comprised of 15 youth leaders who have been involved in at least one year of consistent programming. In addition to participating in regular programming, these leaders develop communication and leadership skills, learn more about basic organizing, and engage in dialogue around relevant social issues.
GET INVOLVED: If you are seeking to get involved in our Organizing & Advocacy efforts; contact Shamar Hemphill (Director of Youth & Organizing) at firstname.lastname@example.org.