Hundreds Of South Florida Students Expected To Attend Young Leaders Summit

What’s News In This Story?

-Over 500 South Florida high school and college students are expected to attend a summit for young leaders on Saturday.  

-Organized by young people, the day-long event will serve as a crash-course in politics for a generation deeply affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 

-The event will take place at two separate locations- one in Miami-Dade and another in Broward and will feature speakers involved in community organizations and political activism. 

-Representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government will be on hand to teach organizing techniques and Jaclyn Corin, a prominent survivor of the MSD shooting and activist in the Never Again movement will give the keynote speech. 

-Event organizer Lina Fernandez said that she hopes the event will serve as a starting point for a “lifetime of activism” for those who attend. 

-Organized by young people, the day-long event will serve as a crash-course in politics for a generation deeply affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 


Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (C) poses with South Florida students during a March For Our Lives protest. Photo Credit: Nikita Leus, Coral Gables Senior High

In the aftermath of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland on Feb. 14, many wondered whether this time would be different.

It seems like it is.

Nearly two months on from that tragedy, the Never Again movement shows no signs of stopping, especially in South Florida.

A event planned for Saturday hopes to take the energy and anger seen throughout the country and turn it into real political power.

An all day “Young Leaders Summit” will be held at Miami-Dade College’s Kendall campus and at Atlantic Technical College in Coconut Creek.

The identical events are meant to be a crash course for young people who want to get engaged in political activism and will feature representatives from prominent local political organizing groups and others like Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“Young people everywhere want to do something about the pervasiveness of gun violence and our culture of gun use but do not know where to begin,” event organizer Lina Fernandez said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “The Summit acts as an education in movement building, an opportunity to learn about the difficult, important work that happens behind the scenes and empower students to create spaces and events of their own.”

The organizers think that at least 500 young people will attend.

Photo Credit: Juliana Carrasco, New World School of the Arts

Only high school and college students can go.

Representatives from various political groups and candidates for political office will also be there so young people can sign up to volunteer for campaigns.

Helping support the summit are groups like: Defeat the NRA, The Resistance School, Harvard Kennedy School, Students Demand Action, Women’s March Miami, League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade, Dream Defenders, Indivisible, the Giffords Center, Moms Demand Action, and the Center for American Progress.

While the motivating factor behind the conference is gun control, the skills that students will learn there can be applied to other struggles.

“We want more than anything else for the students to spend the day Saturday learning about how to get engaged, how to use their voice, how to organize, and take those skills and apply them to whatever movement they are passionate about, not just today’s gun reform battle,” Will Breslin, an organizer for the event said.

According to the organizers, the summit will feature various breakout sessions led by famed political organizer “Marshall Ganz from the Harvard Kennedy School, Indivisible southern regional organizer Whitney Roberts, Maggie Thompson from Generation Progress Action, Katherine Philips and Chase Hardin from Giffords, MJ Wright from Moms Demand Action, Ricky Junquera from Sierra Club, Philip Agnew from Dream Defenders, and more.”

While the event only lasts one day, the hope from the young people putting it together that it will create something long lasting.

“I hope the conference helps create a culture of activism and civic engagement in Miami and in Miami-Dade Schools,” Fernandez said. “I want the students who planned walkouts all across Miami-Dade county last month, and the thousands that attended these events, to continue in their work. I hope the Summit provides a clear next step for student leaders who participated in the national walkout and March For Our Lives but don’t know where to go from there.”



Young Leaders Summit
Saturday April 7, 2018 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Miami Dade Location

Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus

11011 Southwest 104th Street, Miami, FL 33176

Broward Location

Atlantic Technical College

4700 Coconut Creek ParkwayCoconut Creek, FL 33063


Who Will Be There?: 

Speakers During Opening Ceremony:
MJ Wright, mother of a pulse victim
Jaclyn Corin- survivor of MSD shooting, student activist in the Never Again movement

Breakout Session Leaders/ Other Speakers:
Ricky Junquera- Sierra Club
Claris Chang- Harvard Kennedy School
Benjamin Clayton- Harvard Kennedy School
Marshall Ganz- Harvard Kennedy School
Anjali Rodrigues- Harvard Kennedy School
Anna Doty- Harvard Kennedy School
Kate O’Gorman- Harvard Kennedy School
Katherine Phillips- Giffords Center
Chase Hardin- Giffords Center
MJ Wright- Moms Demand Action
Whitney Roberts- Indivisible
Maggie Thompson- Generation Progress
Christian Smith- Generation Progress
Charlene Mack- Leadership for Educational Equity
Phil Agnew- Dream Defenders
Mike Hill- Unite Here

Candidates/ Campaigns In Attendance: 
CD-26- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
CD-27- Ken Russel
CD-27- Jose Javier Rodriguez
CD-27- David Richardson
CD-27- Kristen Rosen Gonzales
CD-27- Matt Haggman
CD-27- Mary Barzee Flores
SH-105 – Javier Esteves
SD-38 – Jason Pizzo
Gov – Andrew Gillum
Gov – Gwen Graham
SH-113 – Kubs Lalchandani
CD-26 – Demetries Grimes
SH – 103 – Cindy Polo
SH – 112 – Nick Duran
SD-40 – Annette Taddeo


WATCH ANOTHER STORY- Is This The Happiest Place In Miami?


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Cover Photo Credit:  Nikita Leus, Coral Gables Senior High.

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About the Author
Rich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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