So glad you are joining us for the 8th Annual Young Leaders, Strong City Teen Equity Summit. Since 2014 we have been creating a platform for student voice on issues of race and identity while connecting students to local and national educators, artists, and artists. YLSC alumni have gone on to create incredible community change; everything from published work, to starting their own summits, and even curriculum and policy change. Now it's your turn. We can't wait to see your vision for our collective future come to life.
In solidarity & gratitude,
Amber, Caazena, & Robbie
10:00 am - 11:10 am
11:10 am - 11:15 am
11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Workshop #1 (Choose a Workshop)
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm
12:05 pm - 12:10 pm
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
1:30 pm - 2:00pm
Optional Open Mic - Sign up Here>
"For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eye on us."
- Amanda Gorman
Every future imagined, planned, and happened upon, also becomes the history on which the next generation is built. It is why student voice is such a powerful and critical tool for change.
Schedule of Day
Andre Segura is the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. The legal department litigates cases and engages in advocacy to challenge the most pressing threats to civil rights in Texas with a strategic focus on criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and reproductive freedom.
Prior to joining the ACLU of Texas, Andre was a senior staff attorney with the national ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. His practice centered on immigration enforcement abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Andre’s notable cases include a class action demonstrating at trial that Sheriff Joe Arpaio maintained a pattern and practice of racial profiling; 21-day civil contempt proceedings against Sheriff Arpaio for intentionally violating court orders (which led to Arpaio being found guilty of criminal contempt and ultimately the subject of President Trump’s first pardon); challenges to numerous state and local anti-immigrant laws; a damages action on behalf of 14 individuals unlawfully detained during a residential raid by federal immigration agents; and a lawsuit on behalf of mothers and children held at a remote detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, challenging unconstitutional policies that denied a fair asylum process.
Andre is a frequent commentator on civil rights and liberties issues in both English and Spanish media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, Univision, Telemundo, The New York Times, and many others.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, to Colombian immigrant parents, Andre received a B.S. in chemical engineering with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2006. He was previously a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, a litigation fellow with the ACLU’s Northern California affiliate, and law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Napoleon A. Jones, Jr.
Clyde Valentín was born and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He is the Co-founder and former Executive Director of Hi-ARTS (formerly known as the Hip-Hop Theater Festival). He is the inaugural Director of Ignite/Arts Dallas: People, Purpose + Place the community engagement initiative at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. The mission of Ignite/Arts Dallas is to challenge the imaginations of students and citizens to envision more just and vibrant communities through art and culture experiences. Clyde was a 2015 Community + Culture Fellow of the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program. Valentín is an advisory committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons and has served as a consultant or panelist for numerous national arts organizations including Creative Capital, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), YouthSpeaks/Brave New Voices, the New England Foundation for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC), the National Performance Network (NPN) and AlternateROOTS. He most recently joined the Local Advisory Board for Year-Up DFW and the Board of Texans for the Arts, the statewide advocacy organization for public funding in the Arts in Texas.
Arreguin is a proud Texas native of Mexican American descent. In 2016, she graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Media Arts. She is one of the Founders of De Colores Collective, an Oak Cliff based arts group focused on lifting up and uniting communities of color. The creative also serves as the Host of popular local podcast: De Colores Radio, which has been featured on Latina.com, Buzzfeed, the Dallas Morning News, and recently won Dallas Observer's 2019 Best Podcast. Through De Colores Radio she aims at growing and learning with her community as they tackle news and popular culture with a fun, conscious vibe. Eva has had the privilege of working full time with Dallas' most incredible youth. Arreguin’s work focuses on anti-racism, community, representation, media, equity, social justice, fat liberation, self love, and mental health. She hopes to inspire women of color to follow their dreams. Follow her @EvaArreguin.
Karrol Rimal is a Dallas native, educator, and political strategist. Karrol currently serves the Dallas community as the Chief of Staff to State Representative Jasmine Crockett. Karrol is laser focused on electing the strongest leaders to public office and focusing on legislation addressing cannabis, criminal justice reforms, and abortion. Karrol attended Howard University to pursue a degree in political science and secondary education.
Niecee X (they/them) is an Oak Cliff native and multidisciplinary artist, poet, public speaker and community organizer who specializes in queer & trans advocacy, cultural competence, the politics of peoples liberation, and youth empowerment. Niecee has worked for Big Thought as a Teaching Artist for 3 years and is program manager for its new social justice and arts experience Youth 2 Power. Niecee X is also founder and Co-Director at House of Rebirth, a transitional home for transgender people in Dallas, TX, where they work with young adults and youth of color enhancing their life journeys. Niecee X enjoys working hands-on with young people and creating liberating spaces that nurture imagination and challenge harmful ideas. Poised to dismantle systems of hierarchy and inequality, they believe deeply in youth agency and autonomy as fundamental in the cultivation of youth programming.
Tiara Cooper is a Dallas native passionate about local grassroots empowerment and justice. As a formerly incarcerated, Black woman, she is eager to share her experiences with the criminal justice system. Tiara’s Christian faith motivates her to reimagine and work toward rebuilding a better world for all, to truly become one nation under God. Tiara has previously coordinated with Texas Organizing Project (TOP), Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, and Outreach Strategists, enabling her to impact and connect directly with her local community. Tiara has also assisted and organized field teams, phone banks and trained GOTV campaign teams in Dallas county. As a proud servant and an upcoming faith leader dedicated to justice, Tiara is honored to transition from LIVE FREE Fellow to LIVE FREE Texas Organizer.
Victoria Ferrell-Ortiz was born in Dallas, Texas. She lived in West Dallas until the age of five, and then moved to South Oak Cliff. Victoria’s Mother was an educator within DISD, and impressed upon her the importance of being a lifelong learner at a young age. She attended the Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet School at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center. In 2016, she received her Bachelors of Arts in Integrative Studies from the University of North Texas in Denton, with concentrations in international studies, sociology, and public administration and community service.
She serves on the Arts and Culture Advisory Commission for the City of Dallas as an at-large member. Victoria is an Emerging Historian of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League and Vice President of the organization.
Brooke Roberson is a graduate of the University of North Texas. During her time on campus, she founded The Black Out Alliance, an organization dedicated to Black LGBTQ students. She also served on the executive board of the Black Student Union and Student Government Association. Currently, Brooke is living in Dallas and studying to become a real estate agent.
Daniel Ojo is a graduate from the University of North Texas and is currently a first-year graduate student at Cornell University getting his master's in Public Administration with a concentration in human rights and social justice. He has a passion for anti-racism and hopes to work in education equity policy and help dismantle the school to prison pipeline. Daniel has previously worked as a fellow and consultant for Young Leaders Strong City and is currently the Race, Equity, and Inclusion intern at Vera Institute of Justice in New York. He is a Libra sun, Gemini rising, and Taurus moon.
Click here to edit tBorn and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jeremy Jewitt holds a Bachelors of Science from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Masters in Education from the University of Mississippi. After years of teaching and instructional coaching in Mississippi and later in Texas, he now serves as the Director for Richardson ISD's Dept. of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, where he creates and leads district staff in professional learning, coordinates and co-facilitates district committees on racial equity and cultural competence, and walks alongside campus and district leadership in developing policies, modeling practices, and creating cultures needed for true educational equity. he text and include the information you would like to feature.
Dr. Marcus Board Jr.
Marcus Board Jr. is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University. His research focuses on domination with a particular focus on public opinion, political behavior, and radical Black feminist theories of power. His forthcoming book is titled Invisible Weapons of Domination: Infiltrating Resistance and Defeating Movements. Investigating the Baltimore Uprising and the unsung murder of Korryn Gaines, welfare recipients in Chicago and public opinion across the country, Invisible Weapons reveals neoliberal politics as the key to domination threatening the end of participatory democracy. Board argues that we must move beyond non-violence, equality, and cooperation and more seriously embrace political non-cooperation, self-defense, and abolition.
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Somos Tejas, a Dallas-based non-profit aimed at cultivating a culture of Civic Engagement within the Latinx community. Ramiro was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and raised in Oak Cliff, Texas. He is a proud DREAMer who has dedicated a great part of his life to providing support and relief to the undocumented immigrant community. Mr. Luna, is an immigrant rights advocate, community organizer, and politica
Pat Arreguin, a Grand Prairie native, is the 3rd of 4 daughters to Mexican immigrants. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Converged Broadcast Media with a minor in Marketing at the University of North Texas. Pat is a co-founder and producer of De Colores Collective. Alongside working with the De Colores Collective podcast, her love of music keeps her actively working within the local Dallas music scene while simultaneously helping her community with previous library work and more. They most recently spearheaded “Latinx Reads”, a newsletter which showcases the various narratives that make up the Latinx diaspora (which can be found through the Dallas Library website)while working for the library. When Pat’s not working with De Colores Co. or tending to her plants and composting, you could find them attending concerts or visiting the latest museum exhibits.
Stephanie Drenka is the Communications Director for Dallas, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and Founding Editor of VISIBLE Magazine. Stephanie’s photography and writing have been featured in Washington Post, Huffington Post, USA Today, and Newsweek. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from DePaul University, with minors in Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies.
Byron Sanders is a committed advocate for education, economic development and creating equitable communities. As the President and CEO of Big Thought, he explores innovative ways to narrow the opportunity gap and believes it’s our charge to shape society so young people have the chance to live the innate greatness that’s inside of them. Byron has been with the organization since 2008 in various capacities, as a supporter, volunteer, advisor, partner and board member. Byron is an alum of The University of Tulsa and now serves on the institution’s Board of Trustees. Above all, he loves spending time with his wife, Celeste, and two children. His professional expertise spans the fields of banking and finance, education, philanthropy and entrepreneurism. Before joining Big Thought, Byron served as Vice President for U.S. Trust and as the Executive Director of the Dallas Education Foundation, where he cultivated philanthropic, corporate and community relationships to support initiatives benefiting Dallas ISD students. He also served as Vice President of Group Excellence, a mentoring and tutoring organization.
As a Dallas-based, FUBU creative, Eboni (she/her) is a story storyteller driven to build a platform for communities of color by any means necessary, highlighting stories on equity and the intersectionality of social and cultural identities. Recently completing her MFA in Documentary Production and Studies at the University of North Texas, Eboni continues to diversify her portfolio with award-winning audio documentary, Good Soil, Good Souls: The Story of Bonton Farms, and is currently in the development phase of her community storytelling mobile app, West Dallas AR. As the new Engagement Manager at Black Public Media, Eboni is dedicated to building bridges of resource for her fellow BIPOC creatives. Website: blktreeproductions.com
Jerry Hawkins (he/him) is the Director of Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (DTRHT), part of a national 14-city initiative by The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Jerry was formerly the Project Director of Bachman Lake Together. Jerry is also a co-founder of The Imagining Freedom Institute (The IF Institute), a thought leadership group that works with organizations and institutions to build their capacity for internal and external equity and social justice efforts, and a co-creator of the Race to Equity DFW conversation series. His past fellowships/appointments include: Leadership Arts Institute, a Trustee appointed member of Dallas ISD's Racial Equity Advisory Council, Leadership ISD, and D Academy/ D Magazine. Jerry Hawkins served as an Advisory Board member at Children’s Medical Center, and on Dallas ISD’s African American Student Success Task Force. Jerry is also a highly trained consultant of social justice, inclusion and racial equity work, with a concentration on the intersection of race, education and the history of cities. While living in Chicago, Jerry previously worked for the Chicago Urban League and Chicago Public Schools.
Dr. Miguelina Rodriguez is a Dominicana from Brooklyn, New York! She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy Formation from Rutgers University and is a Professor of Urban Studies at LaGuardia Community College within CUNY (the City University of New York). Her academic work revolves around Critical Ethnographies of the Gentrification in New York City, mainly focusing on BIPOC communities being negatively affected by the changes. Miguelina believes in the power of what she calls practical magic: an ability to marry her academic work with her Spiritual upbringing in order to craft healing modalities to carry her through life. Dr. Rodriguez is also ½ of the Brujas of Brooklyn; the Brujas are Afro-Dominican identical twins. They are healing generational traumas of gendered racism. The work that they do is inspired by the 7th generation principle among indigenous peoples across the Americas: the healing that takes place today will help to heal 7 generations before us and 7 generations after us.
Stefanie Tovar (she/her/ella) joins us with over 13 years of facilitating wellness and over 21 years as an international and local performing artist. Stefanie combines these various experiences to facilitate trauma informed Healing Arts: offerings that create experiences to support healing, awakening awareness, and empowering release in Body, Mind, and Heart. Stefanie is the founder of wellness outreach nonprofit Hanuman Homies and is passionate about supporting Collective Wellness, Freedom and Awakening through practices of yoga, meditation, music, and sacred storytelling. Her work has led her to collaborate and present in offerings locally provided by DallasTRHT, Cara Mia Theatre, Human Rights Initiative, Amphibian Stage Productions and Oak Cliff Cultural Center and nationally at SXSW, Sedona Yoga Festival, and Cosmic Yogi Festival. Stefanie is also a recording artist signed with Sony Indie Label Orchard Records. Her Debut EP Album "Shine a Light" charted in the Billboards for New Age Music and is available for streaming to help support all around the clock with sounds of Live and Wellness. Stefanie’s mission is to help us all awaken to what it means to live, love and advocate for wellness: within us and among us.
Iv Amenti is a Creative Social Practitioner, professional dancer, storyteller, writer, actress, and vocalist, she partners with communities to create storytelling opportunities. She prides herself in presenting the performing arts as a platform for social commentary in a way that creates voice and identity for communities. She studied theater at the University of Texas at Arlington and is an AmeriCorps alumni who received intensive service training on how to enter into communities, administer asset mapping, and build on those assets in a way that empowers underserved neighborhoods. Her practice has extended into the likes of the TRANSLATION Project, TWU’ Lend Us Your Voice, BC Workshop’s Activating Vacancy, SMU’s Arts and Urbanism’s Complex Movements Cohort, Bricks and Bones performance Cohort, and St. Philips School and Community Center, to name a few. She is the sole creator of the annual !Felabration Dallas!, a music tribute celebrating the life of famed Nigerian Musician and Activist Fela Kuti. A 16 year veteran on the Community Arts Program roster of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs,2015 Cultural Vitality Award Recipient, and self-proclaimed master collaborator.
Amani Thomas is a Dallas transplant with roots in many cities, but she affectionately calls Memphis home. For the past 10 years, Amani has spent her time working with students and education-focused organizations to promote youth leadership, close racial gaps in access, and make drastic changes to the educational experiences of primarily Black and Latinx communities - always advocating for students and families to sit at the center. She now works with TNTP to build advocacy- and action-oriented partnerships with grassroots, community-driven organizations and elevate their voices as experts in the policy landscape. In all of her work, Amani sees her purpose as one to put real people in positions of power, and she aims to inspire others to do the same. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her daughter and loved ones, exploring local attractions, and reclaiming time for intentional rest.
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS!
State Fair of Texas
Boone Family Foundation
W.W. Caruth Fund