Emmy Wang, to the immediate left of Premier David Eby, and Malia Mercado, left of her, are two Maple Ridge women on the province’s Young Leader’s Counci. (Special to The News)

Emmy Wang, to the immediate left of Premier David Eby, and Malia Mercado, left of her, are two Maple Ridge women on the province’s Young Leader’s Counci. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge members of Young Leaders Council meet premier

‘We are living through the impacts of climate change and COVID-19’

Two young leaders from Maple Ridge shared their perspectives with the premier this week.

Malia Mercado and Emmy Wang are both members of the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council, and met with new Premier David Eby, as well as MLAs, ministers, and public servants. Their aim is to help provide a better understanding of the needs of young British Columbians and their views on important issues.

“The experiences of our generation are completely different from previous generations,” said Mercado. “We are living through the impacts of climate change and COVID-19, and it is our future that will be affected.

“The council is our opportunity to bring our concerns about the environment, health, education, economy, and everything else important to young people across the province to the government.”

Members discussed topics including gender equity, reconciliation, healthcare, mental health and addictions care, transportation, and climate action.

“Being part of such a diverse group of young people is an amazing learning experience for all of us,” said Wang. “But, more importantly, it allows youth voices, that are often dismissed, to be amplified to the provincial government and allows us to engage directly with decision makers and voice our genuine perspectives.”

READ ALSO: Two Maple Ridge teens chosen for inaugural B.C. youth council

Mercado is passionate about the issues of youth mental health and bringing attention to domestic violence. She led her school’s participation in the Moose Hide Campaign, which challenges men and boys to stand up against violence towards women and children.

Wang is the founder and president of the Maple Ridge chapter for GirlUp, a global United Nations campaign focusing on gender equity, women’s rights, and female empowerment. She is also the co-founder and current co-president of her school’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) chapter; the director of internal affairs for the Women in STEM global organization; and the publicity manager for her school student council.

The council is made up of 18 members aged 14-26 from all regions of the province. The inaugural council was chosen from over 250 applications.

The council provided input on the province’s engagement with gig workers. The government is inviting people who work for app-based companies such as ridesharing or food delivery companies to provide insight on the unique challenges they face and what changes they would like to see to employment standards.

The Council is chaired by MLA Brittny Anderson, the Premier’s Special Advisor on Youth, and MLA for Nelson-Creston.

“It’s a genuine honour to be able to work directly with this talented and inspiring group of young people,” said Anderson. “The input they are giving during the development of programs and policies has already made changes to the work we are doing as a government, and I expect that this is just the start of an incredible journey in changing the world for the better for these amazing youths.”

READ ALSO: Young patients flood Surrey’s pediatric emergency room as region’s ERs overflow


Have a story tip? Email: ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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