A truly remarkable experience happened when youth organizers met with elected officials at roundtable discussions to talk about policy change. At one particular table where youth engaged in discussion with a mayor from a small city in Texas, they discussed how to effectively engage with marginalized communities ensuring their voices are correctly represented. One particular concern that was brought up was that some elected officials twist community voices to promote their own political agenda and motives. The solution for this is to promote community organizing to do what is in the best interest of the communities. One youth gave an example of his experience with community organizing. He explained that with his organization they conducted a “block walk” that consisted of door knocking to collect individual community voices. They would then take those stories to the office and work together to draft solutions for them. The group came to the conclusion that integrating community organizing with strategic goals, will create positive change in our environment. They recognized there are difficulties and obstacles that elected officials face when trying to push for change, but there are ways of combating these obstacles. Community organizing and policy making is only beneficial when youth voices are considered because youth are solution to the future’s problems.
After the round table discussions ended, all groups nominated a representative for their table to report back to the entire convening. Each representative participated in a panel and discussed what they came up with at each individual table. A lot of issues were addressed such as, The elections, Police Brutality, Community Organizing, Racism, Hate, and many more. Youth Panelists spoke adamantly about deconstructing these problems to create a better future. It was evident that the solutions drafted were done on a collected basis ensuring that all voices in the room were represented. The panels were constructive and conveyed to us the importance of integrating youth into policy decisions.