Minnesota Youth Council Statement on Sexual Harassment
February 26, 2018
The following statement was created by the members of the Minnesota Youth Council:
In this day and age, it is completely unacceptable for citizens and government workers alike to fear they may become a victim of sexual harassment. The assaults reported against those representing us both federally and locally are alarming and discouraging; particularly as young people working within government. Sexual harassment is a deep, complex issue that must be addressed by all. For this reason, we applaud the efforts of Representative Maye Quade, Representative Becker-Finn, and Lindsey Port to create a task force on sexual harassment and hope that it will be representative of the communities most frequently targeted by attackers, including high school and college students.
As the Minnesota Youth Council, we are committed to creating a Minnesota where diversity is celebrated, youth voices are recognized for the importance they have, and where all youth are treated with equity, respect, and feel comfortable sharing their views. Since this desire is one of our core values, we hope that these changes will make a difference not only for the high profile citizens in power, but for those who are less privileged; such as youth, minorities, immigrants and people from low-income backgrounds. We are committed to a future that empowers more people to step forward to speak out about sexual harassment. If we wish to see change in our futures, we must foster communities that support and validate victims of sexual harassment without shame or blame. Several of the high-profile figures that have been accused of sexual harassment have been admired by many, including Minnesota Youth Council members, but we are committed to not letting this cloud our judgment when taking into consideration the accusations against them. We will take accusations against anyone seriously, as we believe that, in order to make change, we must acknowledge any and all accusations, even if it is uncomfortable to do so. We must also work together to hold perpetrators accountable, regardless of their prominence or status. That’s why we believe this should be a bipartisan issue.
As the legislatively mandated youth voice of Minnesota, we look to politicians to set a standard for their constituents of all ages and backgrounds. As we rise, the precedent for our future is being set and we sincerely hope this standard more accurately reflects the values that we hold at the core of our beliefs. As the upcoming generation, we intend to make active decisions to not create the same level of toxicity that has been created in some areas of government. We want to use this opportunity to better our futures and not repeat these same mistakes.