New York may soon take a big step towards equality for youth by lowering the age at which one can sit on community boards in New York City to 16. After a press conference on April 13 by the Future Voters of America announcing the initiative, legislation was introduced in both state and city governments to lower the age. In the state legislature, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and Senator Andrew Lanza are pushing for the change, and in the New York City Council, Councilwoman Gale Brewer is championing the cause. Brewer introduced a bill earlier that would have lowered the voting age to 16 for city elections.
Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, a supporter of the proposal, himself was appointed to a community board when he was 16 years old. Lowering the age for representation to 16 would allow 16- and 17-year-olds greater civic participation in their communities. “[Young people] definitely can participate in the discussions about their community,” Councilwoman Brewer told the New York Daily News. “I’ve seen them do it time and time again.” Young people who care about their communities have friends in New York.