Meet DC’s youth mayor: Young leader championing big change

Lourdes Robinson , 15, serves as the District’s youth mayor. (Courtesy Lourdes Robsinson)

You might have to be 18 to vote, but you don’t have to be a certain age to have a voice in the community — and the District’s youth mayor is proving that.

Lourdes Robinson is just 15, and over the past two years, she’s worked her way up through the ranks to serve as the city’s youth mayor. She oversees issues that matter to the District’s youth.

“I work with the other 42 elected positions to create policy,” Robinson said.

She got her start through the Marion Barry Youth Leadership program and learned skills to help create safe, thriving communities. Her interest in the program was sparked while applying for summer employment through the Department of Employment Services.

“An employee saw how me and my dad were interacting with one another and she asked my dad if I would be interested. At first I was hesitant, but as I started to see other youth, I was drawn to it,” said Robinson.

Her responsibilities include creating initiatives and organizing protests or events around everything from climate change and gun violence to voting rights and D.C. statehood. Her goal is to address issues the District’s youth care about.

“We train youth on Zoom on how to combat these issues within their respective communities,” she added.

She hopes to become an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner after high school and says activism is her passion. She’s now working to empower other kids to step out and get involved.

“They’re able to use their voice if they want change,” she said. “I just want young Black girls to see we can do it too. It’s really just about empowerment for me.”

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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