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Seven CMSD students picked to sit on Congresswoman Brown’s Youth Council

Brown's Youth CouncilCMSD NEWS BUREAU


United States Representative Shontel Brown, the U.S. representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district, believes the most meaningful legislation often comes from constituents.

When she served on the Cuyahoga County Council, Brown recently recalled how Rico Dancy, one of her constituents, suggested creating an option to text emergency first responders.

“It was because of Dancy, a champion for the deaf and hearing-impaired community, that I drafted legislation for text 911,” said Brown, a John Adams High School graduate.

“But this not only helps the hearing impaired and deaf community, but it also helps save lives of victims of domestic violence who may be in the presence of their abuser. They can text rather than call for help,” said Rep. Brown.

Rep. Brown hopes to learn more about what issues are important to some of her youngest constituents through her newly formed Youth Advisory Council. Out of the 18 students selected to serve on her council, seven are from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

“I want to learn from them and come up with the right solutions,” said Rep. Brown. “Young people are the key to our future. And I really wanted to be able to give them a voice.”

The council will meet in person once a month until the end of the school year. During their time together, the students will work in groups to brainstorm solutions to various issues for Rep. Brown.

One of the issues students will investigate is food insecurity. Ariana, a 12th grader at Rhodes College and Career Academy, says she will approach the assignment as a social journalist.

“I am going to be doing interviews with teachers, grocery store workers, students, and vegetarians to see what food options are available in our community,” said Ariana.

Students will also meet with local leaders to discuss topics including speech writing, conflict resolution, and student advocacy.

“We want to help the students understand the power of their voice. We want them to recognize their full potential and how many opportunities are ahead of them, how the government impacts their everyday lives, and how they might be able to articulate and translate that to their peers as well,” said Rep. Brown.

The legislator added that she wants her youth council to not only be a learning experience, but also to provide a chance for students to network.

“Any time I can do something to continue to uplift, educate, and enlighten people that come from a similar background as me, I am excited to do that,” she said.

Ariana said she enjoyed meeting the congresswoman and realizing that she was down-to-earth. She recalls how Rep. Brown apologized about being dressed down during their first meeting.

“She said she’d just come from a family basketball game,” recalls Ariana. “So, her saying that made me feel really calm and to know that she is a normal person. It is great to learn her story. I look forward to learning from her.”