On Monday, April 11, 2022, the Y’s Jewish-Latinx Youth Council (JLYC) was lucky enough to host Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa and her director of community affairs, Ms. Jamilah Sandoval.
CM De La Rosa talked about her efforts to tackle the housing crisis in Washington Heights and Inwood, her responses to mental health issues and budget cuts to public schools, and her committee to bring back composting and park clean-up efforts to the area.
Students shared their community project ideas from the JLYC’s three social issue committees — Housing and Homelessness, Education and the School to Prison Pipeline, and Climate Change and Sustainability.
CM De La Rosa gave JLYC participants tangible ideas for how they could get involved and make a difference. In addition, she inspired our students when sharing how they can — and should — use their voices to bring about change. While discussing controversial topics, she encouraged students to recognize the opportunities to use their voices to share their opinions, listen to other perspectives, and ask questions — everything our identity-based, social justice leadership group is all about!
“We are very excited about how far our inaugural JLYC program has come already and look forward to seeing where the students lead it,” shared Melissa Feinman, the Y’s Teen Programs director. “This was a big night for us, and I’m sure the students will remember it for a long time.”
“I was extremely proud to see more than 20 Jewish and Latinx teenagers from our neighborhood come together to listen, challenge, and learn from Councilmember De La Rosa,” added Chief Program Officer Martin Yafe. “The Y brings together diverse populations of all ages and is an incubator for discussions, practicing equity, and encouraging social action. We’re proud to invest in our youth and our community.”
JLYC is a bi-weekly program that brings together local Jewish and Latinx high school students from Northern Manhattan — Washington Heights and Inwood — to work on relationship building through social action projects, communal and identity exploration, and joint learning. The program’s goals are to strengthen the social cohesiveness in our neighborhood through hands-on civic engagement, advance a sense of appreciation of our diversity, and build genuine relationships.