By Sarah Green, Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change organizer
Illinois youth have been historically disenfranchised. So, the young Illinoisians from Blue Future’s Spring For Progress and Change program are doing something about it. We started the Illinois Youth Advisory Coalition (ILYAC) as part of our capstone project for Blue Future’s spring program.
The Illinois Youth Advisory Coalition was founded with the understanding that infrastructure for youth involvement in politics was seriously lacking in Illinois due to factors like Chicago-style politics, gerrymandering, and voter suppression. We knew that in the wake of the 2020 election, we had a prime opportunity to start something that could inspire change.
With guidance from the leadership at Blue Future, we set a goal of providing the infrastructure for each Congressional Representative from Illinois to host a Youth Advisory Council (YAC).
First, we drafted mission and vision statements, assuring they were specific, inclusive, and encompassing of our goal. Once we had our mission and vision, we developed a Constitution, which explained member functions of a YAC in detail. Then came an application and action plan. All of this has been compiled into slides, which we’ll present to Congresspeople and local leaders.
We’ve already started pitching this project to offices of Congressional Representatives, and we’ve had amazing reception so far. It’s so rewarding to see our project come to life, and I honestly believe in the potential ILYAC has to win youth a seat at the table for years to come.
About Sarah: Sarah Green is a recent graduate with a degree in American history & public health and a co-founder of the Illinois Youth Advisory Coalition. She is interested in issues related to public health and gender equity.