Chicago Youth Call for Policy Changes to Improve Police-Youth Relations, Reform CPS Discipline Guidelines, Encourage Face Mask Use and More

First-ever State of Chicago Youth virtual town hall focuses on health, education, juvenile justice, housing, and safety/policing

CHICAGO – As youth in Chicago face unprecedented challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, today Chicago youth leaders unveiled a suite of policy recommendations for a path forward during the first-ever State of Chicago Youth virtual town hall. Recommendations include ideas such as community centers for youth operated by the Chicago Police Department, mandatory community-focused training for school resource officers, reforming the Chicago Public Schools student code of conduct to minimize criminalizing language and room for bias, a new CPS sexual health policy, and a COVID-19 youth mask design competition to encourage the use of masks by youth, among others. Read the full press release

“We believe that youth deserve a seat at the table with city and school leaders who make public policy,” said Verneé Green, executive director of Mikva Challenge. “As we face the twin challenges of COVID-19 and racial inequities, our young leaders are leaning in and learning the necessary skills to enact the change we need now more than ever. We are grateful to A Better Chicago for partnering with us to amplify the voices of our youth and introduce their work to a broader audience.”

Read the full report online.

Watch the full 2020 State of Chicago Youth Town Hall:

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Mikva Challenge’s Citywide Youth Councils, in partnership with A Better Chicago, are excited to invite you to the first annual State of Chicago Youth Town Hall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Mikva Challenge and A Better Chicago are joining forces to host a State of Chicago Youth virtual town hall event on August 19 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. In these times of recovery, reform and reimagining, the voices of our young people are more valuable than ever. Join us to be the first to hear what local youth leaders participating in Mikva Challenge’s Citywide and Neighborhood Youth Councils have to say about our path forward. Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and provide resources to help push the youth’s recommendations forward during the upcoming school year.

Throughout the summer, Mikva Challenge youth policymakers have been identifying the most pressing issues and inequities currently affecting Chicago youth. At this first-ever town hall event, they will present their policy recommendations and engage us all in identifying ways we can take action to turn their vision for our city into a reality. 

Recommendations will focus on five major issue areas: health, education, juvenile justice, housing, and safety/policing.

This event is free, however we require attendees to register in advance. Please RSVP here by August 17. 


Mikva Challenge 

A Better Chicago 

Thank you!

We are especially grateful to the generous champions and donors of Mikva Challenge and A Better Chicago. Thanks to the investment of individual donors, foundations, companies, non-profits, government, and other organizations, we are able to uplift the visions, voices and leadership of young people – reaching thousands of youth across Chicago. Our transformational impact is only possible through this support.

Thank you to A Better Chicago’s board and leadership council, whose generous donations provided the funding to produce this year’s white papers and host the first-ever State of Chicago Youth Town Hall.

Special thanks to the following sponsors for supporting the work of Mikva Challenge’s Chicago Youth Response Team (CYRT):

Anonymous Foundations

Mikva Challenge is grateful to institutions for giving youth a seat at the decision-making table. Our youth have advised various government agencies across Chicago including the Mayor’s Office, the Office of the Cook County Board President, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Chicago Housing Authority. 

Our programs are also made robust by our relationships with many other leading agencies across Chicago. We are grateful to organizations including Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), Illinois Justice Project, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and the Kennedy Forum, to name a few. Mikva Challenge youth often work closely with these and other organizations to support youth-led projects. These partnerships not only give Mikva Challenge participants access to resources but also access to a network of influential decision-makers throughout the city. Thank you for championing our work while opening many avenues of opportunity for the young people in our programs.