On July 10, members from NYRA-DC attended a youth hearing held by the DC City Council and brought important youth rights issues to the attention of the council and the city. NYRA-DC President Larry Pretlow II spoke to the council about reforming the Youth Advisory Council so that it would provide an effective, meaningful voice for the youth of DC. City staff were very impressed with the testimony and described it as very bold yet “a breath of fresh air”. City officials present at the hearing pledged to work closely with the chapter on implementing these policy suggestions. Larry Pretlow’s testimony can be read here.

NYRA-DC Treasurer, Usi Phoenix, testified in opposition to the DC curfew law, an issue the chapter has attracted some press on of late. Present at the hearing were Chairman Vincent Gray and Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., two of the councilmembers who voted against a recent proposal to make the DC curfew law stricter for the summer. The chapter was pleased to hear Councilman Thomas reiterate his opposition to the curfew. NYRA-DC Director of Political Affairs and founder of the US Youth Chamber of Commerce, Connell Wise, spoke on the issue of lowering the voting age to the council. Wise laid out a solid case for lowering the voting age that sparked an interesting discussion on the issue both during and after the hearing. Watch all the NYRA-DC testimony at our YouTube page.

DC members, both those who did and didn’t testify, spoke to other youth advocates present and discussed how they could work together. Several people were very interested in NYRA-DC. Also, NYRA-DC has filled out and notarized their paperwork for incorporation. Soon the form will be submitted and NYRA-DC will be an official non-profit corporation in Washington, DC. The chapter is off to a great start and is expected to accomplish great things. If you are in the DC area, please join the NYRA-DC Facebook page.