University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu student Lindsey Millerd was recently appointed to serve on the Honolulu Youth Commission, which provides youth on O‘ahu with a voice and presence in local government.
Consisting of 15 commissioners appointed by the Mayor and the Honolulu City Council, the Honolulu Youth Commission provides those ages 14 to 24 with the opportunity to serve their community in one of the most dynamic and engaging levels of public government, according to the commission’s website.
Millerd, 21, of Waipahu, will represent Council District 9 — Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Mililani Town, West Loch, Iroquois Point and portions of Waipahu, ‘Ewa Villages and ‘Ewa Beach.
“It’s this great opportunity (for commissioners) to collaborate and do what we can to take action on our concerns,” said Millerd, who was selected by District 9 Councilmember Augie Tulba. “We can propose resolutions and contribute a youth perspective on issues being discussed by the local politicians.”
She continued, “The group just started last year, so it’s pretty fresh, and I’m so glad it was finally created.”
Improving the community
Millerd is majoring in Hawaiian and Indigenous Health and Healing at UH West O‘ahu, and is also pursuing certificates in Music and Sustainability Issues. She previously attended Leeward Community College, where she studied sustainable agriculture.
Millerd transferred from Leeward Community College to UH West O‘ahu this past summer and expects to graduate in spring 2024.
In addition to her studies, Millerd continues to work as a writer and editor for Leeward Community College’s student publication, Ka Mana‘o. She also looks forward to playing bassoon in the UH West O‘ahu University Band.
On top of her academic commitments, Millerd now has her role as youth commissioner to focus on for the next two years, which is the length of her term.
“I’m looking forward to voicing the concerns and ideas I have to improve our island community,” Millerd said. “I’m especially interested in the things I’m studying, like improving public health and local agriculture, so projects like community and school gardens are a top priority for me to address. I’m also hoping to address major problems like the lack of affordable housing, government corruption, and over tourism.”
‘Eager to start this role’
Millerd applied online to be a commissioner after seeing openings advertised on the Honolulu City Council’s Instagram account. She applied under Councilmember Tulba, who selected her to represent District 9. Millerd was officially appointed to the Honolulu Youth Commission on Aug. 16 at Honolulu Hale.
“That day was very exciting because we got to meet a lot of the government officials like the council members and the mayor in a pretty intimate setting,” Millerd said. “Those who selected us got to introduce us and we got to share a little bit about ourselves.”
She said it was great to meet the other new commissioners, all of whom then “jumped right into” their first meeting and met some of the current members. It was at that first meeting that Millerd was also appointed as the group’s assistant secretary.
“I just felt very happy and proud of myself that day, and eager to start this role,” Millerd said.
She explained that the main role for commissioners is to attend their monthly meetings, as well as other meetings for specific topics if they volunteer to do so. Millerd said besides that, it’s up to each of them to put in more research and planning if they would like to write any resolutions.
“As the assistant secretary I’ll be helping with taking minutes and managing our social media,” Millerd added. “I hope to use social media to hear from youth in our community, like sharing polls and opening up our direct messages so people feel comfortable reaching out to us.”
As a member of the Honolulu Youth Commission, Millerd said she looks forward to learning more about how the government works and how she can continue being civically engaged once her term ends.
“It’s also a great way to make empowering connections with other young people who are motivated to improve our island’s future,” she said.