We often ask Summer Jobs students about their favorite enrichment seminars, and they usually respond that they enjoy the mock City Council hearing the most. It’s not surprising, as they get to visit the real City Council Chamber at City Hall in Boston, hear from a past City Council President about his experiences, and debate and vote on a hypothetical proposed ordinance.
Attorney Lawrence DiCara opened the morning by highlighting the importance of City Council and how the Council’s decisions directly impact the lives of those living, working, and visiting Boston. DiCara knows firsthand what tough decisions the Council faces, as he was a member of Boston’s City Council for 9 years and served as the President in 1978.
He then led the students through a mock hearing where they separated into interest groups in support/opposition to a faux ordinance regarding a teen curfew. The interest groups included “Pediatrician’s for Peace,” an elder’s council, a teen council, and a business alliance. After hearing from both sides, the four students acting as City Councilors decided not to pass the proposed curfew.
Afterwards, the students spoke to DiCara about a range of subjects, from the highlights of his career in City Hall and as a practicing attorney, to his opinion on some issues in the city today. Many students commented they came away from the day with a more sophisticated understanding of city government, and the power that all Boston residents have to make their voices heard on an issue of importance.