Estudiantes de Esperanza Academy también participaron del Foro Latino “Filadelfia Decide” el 10 de abril en el Teatro Esperanza. (Foto: Jesus Rincón)

The Youth Philly Leaders, which includes civically engaged youth from various parts of the city, gathered to attend the Latino Mayoral Forum at Esperanza on April 10, 2023. This group of Latino students attended a meeting prior to the event, where they prepared to be engaged participants of the forum. Led by Esperanza’s Associate Project Director of Faith and Capacity Initiatives, Kayla Gonzales, they explored the role of the mayor, and their role as informed students. They reflected on key questions regarding issues that were of value to them and what changes they would like to see in their neighborhoods and beyond. Some of the issues students discussed were pollution in their neighborhoods, gun violence, mass shootings, drug education in schools, and the effect of smoke shops in Filadelfia, on young people in particular.   

The students also engaged in a group research activity, where they identified various facts on the positions of the 9 mayoral candidates who would be attending the mayoral forum at Esperanza. While some of the students are not yet of age to vote, there were others who were of age high school seniors and college students who have been looking into which candidates they will be voting for this May. One student, who recently turned 18, stated that he had become familiarized with one or two of the mayoral candidates, but that participating in Young Philly Leaders was helpful for him to better connect the needs of his community with the role of the mayor.  

Students then attended the forum, where they got to hear from 9 mayoral candidates. The students were prepared with informed questions for the candidates and gained a better understanding of the candidates and their proposed policies. They left the event more confident in their voices as influential students, and they look forward to becoming involved in future civic engagement opportunities.


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