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Dear Vermont policymakers,
Vermont has always been a pioneer of change. As Vermonters, we know that making equitable, just, and empowering decisions is not only the morally right thing to do, but also benefits our state. This is why we support the creation of a Vermont Youth Council. A state youth council recognized by the Vermont legislature will empower young Vermont voices, provide new solutions to ongoing issues, and foster democracy.
Including youth voice in the legislative process will strengthen our democracy. Democracy works best when it is truly representative and all citizens get a voice in the process. As youth under eighteen cannot vote, the Vermont Youth Council will provide an avenue for youth to participate in and expand the boundaries of democracy. It will give young people throughout Vermont a forum to give input into policies that affect them.
Young voices also help to bring new voices into our state conversations. The average age of our legislature is sixty-one, yet 18% of our population is under eighteen. And while Vermont’s average population is 93% white, the youth population is the most racially diverse age group in Vermont with 12% of the youth population identifying as non-white. State conversations and state policies in Vermont will be stronger through the inclusion of a broader, more diverse set of voices.
Finally, a statewide youth council will provide a space where the input of youth is truly valued, not tokenized. Youth are capable decision-makers and collaborators who are eager to be engaged in our state’s decision making processes. The creation of a Vermont Youth Council empowers youth across the state and will help to build a generation of innovators, leaders, creators, and change-makers.
It is for these reasons and many more why we, the undersigned individuals and organizations, support the creation of a Vermont Youth Council.
Thank you sincerely,