High school students taking part in San Francisco’s Youth Advocacy Day had the chance to meet with city officials Thursday.

Mayor Ed Lee kicked off the event at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Larkin Street at 9:30 a.m. with a speech highlighting issues that affect the city’s youth.

Lee focused on efforts to create jobs, lower the cost of San Francisco Municipal Railway youth passes, balance the budget and make the city a safer place to live.

After responding to students’ questions regarding graffiti, the city budget, homelessness, LGBT rights, and joblessness, the mayor shared his perspective on the day’s events.

“It’s also an opportunity for me to invite them to come in and work with me on some of these things … they may have answers I don’t,” Lee said.

“I get inspired when I talk to youth and understand what they’re concerned about,” he said.

Lee was followed by other city officials, including board of education members Sandra Lee Fewer and Emily Murase, San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia and Associate Superintendent Kevin Truitt, all of whom began by talking about their own high school experiences.

Students planned to spend the rest of the day in peer-led workshops, discussing issues and meeting with city health officials, representatives of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and others.

High school student Robin Bonner, who is part of a group of “youth warriors” who facilitated and led group discussions with city representatives, said, “It’s important that that we take charge.”

“If we don’t, who will decide our future for us?” she asked.

Breena Kerr, Bay City News

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