The City Council requested that the administration allocate one million from the American Rescue Plan Act funds for youth-led initiatives in a participatory budgeting process – led by the Everett Youth Initiative Council – during Tuesday’s council meeting at City Hall.
Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins, who sponsored the item, referred the matter to the Mayor’s Office, asking that they respond by the next council meeting on Jan. 9.
“The youths came to the table also at the last meeting,” Martins said. “They’d be responsible for outreach.”
During public comment, Youth Initiative Council members Kien Lau and Aeshah Mohammed spoke favorably on the motion.
“Youth have been the most affected by the pandemic,” Mohammed said. “Suddenly, we had to stay at home and learn from a computer.” Mohammed said struggles included uncertainty about where the next meal is coming from.
Lau said the message is clear. “We are yearning to be heard,” Lau said. “We all understand that money is power, so when will money be given to youths, who need it the most?
Ward 6 Councillor Al Lattanzi said he’d support helping the youths, adding that they must oversee what they’re going to do.
City Clerk Sergio Cornelio said this resolution is simply the beginning part, adding that the mayor could reject their proposal. “They would form a larger team to facilitate budgeting,” Cornelio said. “Their ultimate goal is to gather a representative team of young people.”