RED WING -- The American Association of University Women-Red Wing Area Branch has selected Alainn Hanson as the Brave New Girl winner for 2020.

The award is given to a young Red Wing woman who has demonstrated leadership on women’s or girls’ issues that reflect the mission of AAUW, explained Linda Thielbar in a written statement.

“Alainn has been working on establishing a Youth Commission in the city of Red Wing after attending the National League of Cities conference in March 2018 as a ninth grade student,” said Heidi Jones, who nominated Hanson for the award. “In 2019 the City Council ratified the Youth Commission. The Youth Commission is currently working on bylaws and researching voting rights for those students who sit on city boards and commissions.”

Hanson not only created the Youth Commission, but is the current chair, according to Thielbar, and is one of two students who participated in a nationwide debate on issues pertaining to urban and rural cities at the National League of Cities conference.

“It occurred to me that while I was forming this commission as a way to elevate a youth voice this would also be a way to encourage young women to speak up as well,” Hanson said. “The easiest way to get more women involved in government is for them to see people who look like them. This is true for every person who is part of a marginalized or minority group. Representation matters.”

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In her work with the Youth Commission, Hanson wants to promote more leadership opportunities for women, and she hopes it provides “opportunities for young women to have a platform for their voices to be heard, where they are surrounded by other women who build each other up and advocate for a more equal future.”

Another issue Hanson has been working on is studying other cities to see if student commissioners are voting members. Currently in Red Wing they serve an advisory role, Theilbar noted.

“As a commission, our hope is to provide more opportunities for youth in Red Wing,” Hanson said. “One of our initiatives is to create more constructive activities for multiple age groups and encourage our city to consider the youth impact when planning for the future. Having an elevated youth voice in Red Wing brings new perspectives to the table and having those new ideas could encourage more businesses or more people to consider Red Wing when choosing where to live as it will have opportunities for people regardless of age.”