Watch CBS News

Youth group PhillyBOLT holding Philadelphia politicians accountable

Focusing on the Future: Youth group PhillyBOLT keeps tabs on Philadelphia mayoral race
Focusing on the Future: Youth group PhillyBOLT keeps tabs on Philadelphia mayoral race 03:58

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- While the Committee of Seventy released its first public nonpartisan poll of the 2023 Philadelphia mayor race, young people are also keeping a close eye on who will be the city's 100th mayor.

The local youth group is called PhillyBOLT and they live up to their name. Although most of them are not old enough to vote, they want city officials to know their voices matter.

Earlier this week, the city tuned in to watch mayoral candidates battle for the city's top position.

Although what you didn't see was another forum held inside the School District of Philadelphia and hosted by future voters, like 17-year-old Jeron Williams II of PhillyBOLT.

"This is the turning point for Philadelphia," Jeron said. "We are at our 100th mayor."

BOLT stands for Build Our Lives Together.


These young activists can be seen cleaning up the streets of Philadelphia or challenging elected officials.

Recently, this group and several other youth organizations hosted a town hall where teens made their voices heard to city council and mayoral candidates.

"There's poverty and families can't make ends meet," Jeron said.

"Having more jobs for our youth," Tyliah Evans, a Parkway Northwest High School student, said. "Mostly, we're limited to fast food jobs that don't pay enough. We're talking about summer programs for our youth to really get off the streets."

"They have incredible passion," PhillyBOLT founder Hillary Do said. "I feel really lucky to be able to work with all of them."

 Do says PhillyBOLT's mission is to empower the young leaders of today and pay them for the work they do.

"People in nonprofits should be paid for their time," Do said, "and people who are serving their communities should also be compensated for their time."

Time that's well spent.

When they're not working in our local communities, they are rallying in Harrisburg speaking to the state legislatures about gun violence.

"My parents feel every time they send me and my siblings into the city and hope that we return with our bookbags and not in body bags," one member of the group recently said.

From Harrisburg to Philadelphia, PhillyBOLT says our elected officials can be part of the solution to this deadly problem.

"We need more green spaces," Amaiyah Parker, a senior at Central High School, said. "The lack of green spaces impacts gun violence."


Amaiyah says toward the end of the town hall, she, along with others, was disappointed in some of the candidates who did not respond to their demands with a plan.

"Most of them got up there and started to campaign for themselves," Amaiyah said. "You work for the citizens of Philadelphia, so whatever we have, whatever demands we have, you should create effective solutions, fast solutions to the problems in the city."

As the group was leaving our studio and headed to school, something tells us that their advocacy work is far from over.

PhillyBOLT is hosting a youth walk Saturday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.