As a young political activist I am a part of the Mayors Youth Leadership Council (MYLC). I am able to inquire skills that will help me become a better leader. Our goal at the MYLC is to train twenty diverse NYC high school students to serve as a critical advisory resource to the Mayor of NYC around youth policy issues. Each cohort receives a public policy issue they take on their first year and present it to the mayor of NYC. Then their second year they implement their recommendations to their public policy issue. However my year has it weighs heavily on the future of the MYLC. If we are unable to be successful then there will not be another cohort next year. Then the millions of youth will not have as much of a powerful say.
One sensitive issue we went into was arranging the boroughs from least to greatest. 10 of our council members were selected and I was one of the individuals participating. We were using the Fist of Five technique that the occupy Wall Street protestors use as well as many other groups. We ranked Manhattan as the best because many tourist go there and we validate this with everyone in the group. It was much difficult to decide of the second best and we went straight to the fifth one. The group picked Staten Island of being the worst borough. Something inside me made me put a fist up to defend my borough because the other nine individuals did not justify their reasoning for selecting Staten Island for being the worst borough. I created an analogy by saying its okay when you pick on your little brother or sister but when another individual does it – it isn’t right. After I said what I needed, I suggested that move on but there was already tension in the group.
When the activity was done we had a debriefing on that experience. Another council member wanted to give me feedback and I accepted it respectfully. He then tells me that I need to separate my emotions from my professional setting. Something again went off in me and my rebuttal to this was you can never separate your emotion from anything you do. It is as if I need to be objective at all times but humans cannot function this way. I am a passionate individual I grow through experience and my emotions will be there every step of the way. However, I am learning how to control these emotions so that they don’t obscure the objective of my mission and tasks as a leader. Now I am able to keep moving forward because I am persistent and that is what makes me a young political activist.