Photo courtesy of My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge of Niko Emack and Elijah Booker.

In Cambridge, civic action often starts at an early age.

This week, we witnessed the power of young, community voices as City Council unanimously approved the renaming of Agassiz Neighborhood to the Baldwin neighborhood, honoring Maria L. Baldwin – the first Black, female school principal in the Northeast. It was the culmination of a two-year effort led by Maya Counter, a 2020 CRLS graduate and now Harvard student who grew up in the neighborhood and championed a name that reflected its values.

“We live in a diverse community – a reality that Agassiz fought hard against, and the same kind of community that Baldwin worked hard for,” Maya said in a public comment at the Council meeting.

We also heard emerging leaders with My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Cambridge at a civic gathering encourage our city to better heed and support young Cantabrigians who choose to apply their talents and expertise to the problems their hometown faces.

“Young voices are needed as we drive toward the change we would like to see in the world,” said Elijah Booker, a MBK team member and youth mentor. “We are tasked with this heavy burden but have the energy and the courage to fight for what’s right.”

From addressing education and opportunity gaps, gun violence, and displacement of Black and Brown families to dismantling institutional racism and righting history – our young civic leaders are pressing us toward a better Cambridge.