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Youth-led Advocacy

Youth Safety Advisory Council

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The Youth Safety Advisory Council’s mission is to build a network of youth input that informs the Chicago Police Department on building positive relations with youth in the city of Chicago.

In partnership with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Mikva Challenge launched a Youth Safety Advisory Council (YSAC) to work towards the goal of increasing positive interactions between police and Chicago youth. The Council is composed of 20 youth from high schools across the city who research, explore, draft and present recommendations and youth input to Deputy Officer Kevin Navarro, Special Advisor Robin Robinson, and Officer Vanessa Westley.

Notable Achievements

  • Developed a comprehensive list of recommendations targeted to improve youth-police relations in schools and communities.
  • Students also developed a proposal for CPD to initiative a Mental Health Campaign that can help reduce the stigma for officers seeking help after traumatic incidents.
  • Rolled out a district-wide survey to help improve relations between students and security guards.
  • Initiated conversations between youth and police officers in a few different schools to provide both youth and police officers an opportunity to hear the others perspective.

My experience with YSAC has been amazing. It has allowed me to meet people with amazing stories and experiences. It has shown me another side of the society and given me many opportunities. I’ve learned a lot here at Mikva and I hope to continue working with them in the future. I feel that both sides are misunderstood and that the police have a tough job of having to make split second decisions that can affect people lives for years to come. I’ve learned a lot about the sociology aspect of police and youth relations. Mikva has helped me a lot in class – like how minority’s are underrepresented in the police force and how they are definitely the ones police stop more.

Matthew Pomykala, student at St. Patrick High School