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America’s Next Leaders: Youth Leaders, Just as Important as Adult Ones

  • “America’s Next Leaders 2016” is an Equal Voice News special series that highlights young people who are strengthening their communities.
January 6, 2017 1:06 pm by

Each year, Equal Voice News features “America’s Next Leaders”, a series that profiles the recipients of the Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty Leadership Award. The award honors young people who, in the spirit of Sargent Shriver, have demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and have transformed that commitment into effective action across an array of issues.The Marguerite Casey Foundation supports and promotes America’s Next Leaders in order to recognize their resolve and courage and to help them build a network that will foster their individual and collective work moving forward.

Equal Voice News is an online newspaper published by the Marguerite Casey Foundation that covers the intersection of policy and poverty, with a focus on the lives of families living at that intersection.

The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) nominated Diana Montero for the award. Here is a summary of her community contributions:

Diana Montero
Diana Montero

Diana is active with TIRRC and their youth group, Jovenes Unidos por un Mejor Presente (JUMP). She has been heavily involved in the implementation of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), speaking to undocumented students about options for their future.

With the tuition equality campaign in Tennessee, she worked with other community members to try and pass a bill so undocumented students could qualify for in-state tuition at state universities. She is also part of a research team recording the experiences of undocumented immigrant youth in Tennessee, helping to analyze and distribute answers to raise awareness throughout the state.

“Youth leaders are just as important as ‘adult’ leaders. With JUMP, I found my voice and confidence to fight back against the injustices and suffering that my family and community members face,” she says.

“Diana brings a unique mix of boldness and joy that inspires and captivates those around her, and she is a natural leader,” says Lindsey Harris, co-executive director of TIRRC. 

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