Sixth Annual South Florida Youth Summit Impacts Over 1,000 Youth
By Isheka N. Harrison and Jessica Garrett Modkins
MIAMI, FL — “Who lead? I lead!” was the call and response over 1,000 students chanted with speakers and organizers during the 6th Annual South Florida Youth Summit (SFYS) weekend, held October 18-20. Presented by L.E.A.D Nation in partnership with the Knight Foundation, the summit impacted students from across Dade and Broward counties representing schools like The SEED School, Miami Norland, Miramar High and others.
Expert speakers taught students the value of self-confidence, persistence, goal setting and more. Enlightening workshops covered topics like money, leadership, physical and mental health, entrepreneurship and more.
The summit kicked off Thursday, Oct. 18, at the adult-only event, Cocktails & Conversations, with a thought-provoking conversation be-tween Grammy award-winning artist, speaker and activist David Banner and political strategist and women’s rights activist Jasmen Rogers-Shaw.
In an engaging conversation moderated by NBC 6 anchor and host of Black Voices Jawan Strader, both speakers offering insight on important topics like how parents can empower their kids, politics, women’s rights, pop culture and other issues that adversely impact people of color at disproportionately high rates. Both speakers spoke about why they became advocates.
“I can’t tell my kids not to be something that I wasn’t … The problem is that we talk at these children and we tell them we don’t want to see them fight, but we sit up here and fight against each other and bicker against each other and then tell them don’t do that. No that’s a lie! Our kids learn by tacit knowledge. Our whole culture was passed down through stories and songs and examples of a better day. We as adults have to show them,” Banner said.
“When I think about every-thing that has brought me to this moment, not only is this the work of my ancestors, this is the debt that I owe to everyone that has come before me … As the child of immigrants, as the child of a Southern Baptist minister, as the child of a strong woman that was pretty much told what she could and couldn’t do in life, I’m out here trying to rebel,” Rogers-Shaw said.
The fun continued Friday morning during the Leaders In Training (LIT) Rally at Broward College’s South Campus where youth were exposed to a host of motivational speakers, a powerful spoken word artist, stepping from members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, great music from 103.5 The Beat and dance competitions, during which students had the opportunity to represent their respective schools.
SFYS creator Florida State Representative Shevrin Jones told the students it was important they acknowledge the adults pouring into their lives and retain the things they learned.
“It’s important that I recognize that there were people who helped me along the way. So should you. What I don’t want you to do is walk out of here and forget and allow the words that have been spoken to you to fall on deaf ears,” Jones said.
At Saturday’s namesake event, Jarrod Speaks served as the keynote speaker. After a series of warm-up and ice-breaker activities, he encouraged the youth to become leaders in their communities.
Students said they really enjoyed the summit, speaking about the positive impact it had on them.
“It was really, really great. I like how they had many different types of things likes speeches and then step and then rapping … It was said many times, ‘Be who you want to be and no one can stop you from achieving the goal.’ It was very inspiring,” said 10-year-old sixth-grader Jayden Murray from The SEED School.
“It was fun. It was nice talking to everyone and listening to everyone. I really enjoyed the DJ and I’m going to remember the poet. He was very inspirational and motivating. I plan on coming back,” said Seminole Middle School eighth-grader Brieanah Beauchamp.
This year’s planning committee chairman was Robert Stephens III. He said he was motivated by the youth’s response to this year’s summit.
“Without a doubt, the 6th annual summit was by far our best summit to date. When a student comes up and eagerly exclaims, ‘I’m so glad my mom made me come,’ you know you’ve done well,” Stephens said.
The Summit was proudly sponsored by L.E.A.D Nation, Knight Foundation, City of Miramar, Broward College, Miami-Dade College, Uber, Sunshine Health, Florida Virtual Schools and Trilogy Education Services.
Partners included: Change Makers Academy, Urban League of Broward County Young Professional Network, Pampered Roots, Broward Young Black Progressives, Avanse Ansanm, Own Your Thrown, How We See It, State Representative Shevrin Jones and Notion Motion.
For more information about the summit and LEAD Nation, visit www.leadnation.org.
ABOUT L.E.A.D Nation: Leaders by Empowerment, Activists by Development (L.E.A.D. Nation) is a community-based nonprofit organization developed to inspire youth to become leaders in their community by providing the necessary training needed for success. The organization focuses on education, mentoring, service, character and public speaking for middle and high school students, as well as provides a platform for parent engagement and learning. L.E.A.D. Nation was founded in 2006 by State Representative Shevrin Jones, Leo Stoney and Donald Garner and continues to be a leading organization in hosting events and providing opportunities that inspire youth.