MAP Youth Leadership Council


What is MAP YLC?

MAP Youth Leadership Council convenes nearly 50 young residents ages 16-21 from 17 MAP developments in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The Council bolsters young voices to define community safety and well-being and achieve social justice goals in their communities. For nine months, the Council meets weekly to explore self-narratives, group identity, and social justice using various multimedia tools.

MAP positions youth leaders as advocates for safety in their communities and throughout New York City. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) and the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) work together to introduce a wide range of social justice concepts to the Youth Council through art, photography, guest speakers, story-telling, and more.

The Inaugural Cohort

Meet the 2021 MAP Youth Leadership Council!

Arts & Justice

The first cohort of the MAP Youth Leadership Council worked with artist and activist Sophia Dawson to capture stories of hope and inspiration. Participants learned an array of techniques, including painting, audio recording, and interviewing, to share the experiences of meaningful people in their lives. To explore Sophia’s work, visit her website!

Social Justice Portraits

Youth participants practiced image transfer techniques to portray activists, key figures, and places representing their ideals of inspiration and hope, and their interests in public policy. Each piece addresses a social justice concern most relevant to the artist.
Check out the Social Justice Portraits!


Testify is the latest art exhibit from the YLC inaugural cohort. Participating youth artists captured the testimonies of resilient individuals in their lives. Each testimony includes an interview and original photography of subjects related to the interviewee’s experience. The stories explore trials and triumphs that are vivid, layered, and span a range of cultures and generations. Check out Testify!

Note: The first installation of Testify will feature the original photography on mesh canvas in an outdoor facility in Brownsville, Brooklyn. More details to come!

Policy and Justice Sessions

The MAP Youth Leadership Council explores issue areas that are critical to community safety and well-being. In a typical session, members discuss a range of topics, including:

  • Spatial Justice
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Public Safety
  • Racial Justice
  • Environmental Justice
  • Civics and Advocacy

The Council also hosts guest speakers to highlight their community work and explore best practices to address critical issues. These discussions, led by CCI and MAP staff, equip Council members with interdisciplinary strategies to analyze the concerns they will ultimately address in their communities through the Action Plan and Action Agenda.